This year has put most of us through the ringer. Between the Pandemic and Black Live’s Matter movement here, the internet and social media has been extremely overwhelming. I’ve taken time to educate, donate, listen, and just sat back and digested it all. My blog isn’t geared towards political views, but I do believe within a moral responsibility that we all need to be more understanding of one another. We all have to understand that there is a strong rooted issue within our country that needs to be addressed. It shouldn’t be about left or right, but instead opening up a dialogue to listen, to learn, to understand. Its everyone’s moral obligation to ensure that their fellow neighbor feels safe. So wear your mask, do not judge, and be kind to one another.
I’ve been quarantined and working from home since March 13th, that’s 123 days. I’ve always been the type of person who thrives on being a weekend warrior. Packing up the car bright and early on a Saturday morning to make sure I was able to make the most of a day full of adventures. Being home as I am sure for most has been stifling, and depressing. To add to it, we moved out of our apartment back in November and were supposed to be moved into a new house by now. But when the world shut down, and markets crashed it was deemed safest to continue staying at our parents houses, rather than taking a risk on the start of our new life. Of course I know I am not the only one suffering from this, shout out to all my 2020 Brides out there. My heart goes out.
New York State has slowly been opening up, responsibly. One of the first areas to reopen was the Finger Lakes region in the western portion of the state. Z surprised me with a weekend getaway for 4th of July weekend. But traveling during a pandemic, social distancing on a hiking trail, is it safe to stay in a hotel, all of these thoughts came rushing into my brain and the questions started to pour out. Z’s response was simply, ‘Don’t stress, we’re smart, we will be fine.” A part of me felt extremely irresponsible for being excited for this trip, but a HUGE part of me needed to get the fuck out. So that’s what we did.
We stayed in Ithaca, NY, the hotel handled all regulations super efficiently. I never saw someone without a mask, no daily room cleaning, and social distancing. We dined al fresco for a couple of dinners and ate indoors once. I honestly have to say was SUPER weird, dining indoors, because it’s been months since I have stepped foot to eat inside a restaurant. Such a crazy idea, that dining in would be such a foreign concept. But our main objective was to get some good hiking in. We opted to visit Watkin Glens Falls which is a gorge hike, filled with waterfalls, winding staircases, and just spectacular views. We did do other trails, that were much less populated and easier to feel comfortable but this trail in particular I’d like to focus on.
We went to Watkin’s Glen on a Friday and entered immediately when the park opened at a very late 9am. The main Gorge Trail is a HEAVILY trafficked in and out trail, mainly along windy slim staircases. For safety precautions I kept my mask on the entire time, and we only did the trail in, we did not return out. IF you did return out on the Gorge Trail you’d be walking back on the same stairs you came in with everyone coming into the Gorge. Not ideal, and to be honest there were not a lot of people wearing masks, which was disappointing. We were one of the first people on the trail and for the most part tried our best to social distance, it wasn’t OVERLY crowded. However, as we were walking back on another trail we spotted the gorge trail and it was packed. To head back to the main entrance upon hitting the end of the Gorge Trail we took the Indian Trail to Carriage Trail back, this was super smart as no one was coming up this way and it was out of the Gorge. Ok would it have been nice to stay in the gorge the entire time, yes, but guys we need to make smart decisions. Overall I think it was about 3 miles, a ton of stairs and caution a lot of them were muddy and wet. Watkins Glen is only open from May to September as you can imagine it becomes extremely dangerous in the winter months. It also has just been redone, with a great main entrance area, public bathrooms, gift shops, and lots of shade seating.
We picked a super popular trail, during a summer holiday, during a pandemic. We social distanced as much as possible and made smart decisions. I know not everyone will agree that it was a good idea that we went there, I know there are some people that think who the fucks cares. But nature is therapy, and we need to figure out how to go back to something resembling normal. For me that’s being outdoors and with the sun on my face, but right now I have a mask on, and that’s ok. This country needs to start navigating these challenges and start controlling this virus. To everyone tired and frustrated, I’m sending you good vibes and telling you not to give up. I know right now its hard to have faith in our institution after so many failed attempts resulting in flip flopped policies. The respect just not there. But take lessons from the countries doing it right, and hopefully enough people can engage in this and get it right. I hope you are enjoying your summer, and you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.