Exploring Taughannock Falls

Picture of the falls from above
Picture of the falls from above

The packing, planning, gear, and supplies paid off. The Taughannock Falls camping trip went exceptionally well! Edward and I had a great camp site, and a great time!

We managed to get everything packed into the truck around 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon. We said goodbye to Mom and Nathan, and took off for the park. Turns out that two hours in the car is a long time for an excited four year old.

Side note: Google maps doesn’t always provide the best directions. We ended up with a pretty round-about route to get to the park. The ride home was much easier and shorter.

We arrived at the park around 4:30 in the afternoon and set to work right away getting our camp site setup. We pitched the tent, setup the grill and Edward gathered a bunch of sticks for the fire.

While I finished with the camp site, Edward started taking pictures. We’d picked up a couple of one-time-use cameras and he was enjoying himself. The cameras have both been dropped off to be developed, and I’ll get pictures posted as soon as I have them. I do have some shots taken with the camera on my phone. The quality may not be the best, but hopefully, you’ll enjoy them.

We grilled up some hot dogs for dinner and relaxed for a while, just enjoying our surroundings. On the way in, we failed to stop by the office, so we decided to head over to check-in. First thing Edward noticed was the massive play set that was across the field from the office. After a painless check-in, we decided to find out just how awesome the play set was.

An hour later and Edward was still going strong. There were a number of other kids and they had all worked out some scenario that required the large firetruck apparatus and a lot of wood chips. I’m not sure what was going on, exactly, but they seemed to have a pretty good time.

Marshmallow eating camper
Marshmallow eating camper

As it started to get dark, we decided to head back to the camp to get our fire started. The pile of sticks that Edward had gathered worked perfectly as kindling and we had an excellent fire going in no time. Mom had packed us all the ingredients for roasting marshmallows and making smores. We didn’t waste any time breaking into the bag of marshmallows.

A friend of mine had recently shown me another way to make smores. Instead of the traditional chocolate bar, use a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Add in a hot marshmallow, and you’ve got a recipe for delicious.

Shortly after stuffing ourselves with smores, we decided it was time to head for bed. Edward’s first experience with a tent went off without a hitch.

Running along the river bed
Running along the river bed

Saturday morning came pretty early and we were up eating oatmeal by 7 a.m. Our plan was to head out to see the waterfall from the base of the gorge. Thankfully, the park is well setup for this sort of trek, so we had no problem finding our way.

We managed to get off the beaten path pretty quickly. We followed the river bed for a majority of the hike. This allowed us to get some good pictures of the small falls along the way. It also allowed us to get our feet wet, toss a rock or two, and really enjoy our surroundings.

The hike took us about an hour and a half. The falls from the bottom of the gorge certainly didn’t disappoint.

We had hoped to be able to swim in the pool at the base of the water fall, but it was closed due to falling rocks. With one goal down and two eager swimmers, we decided to head back to camp and then to the lake for a dip.

The lake was great, with a water temp of 75F. There was a bit of a wind blowing right at us, so we even had a few waves to play in. We didn’t swim for long though… The gravitational pull of the play park was too much to overcome so we spent a couple hours there, Edward running about from one side to the other.

As we entered early afternoon, we were both pretty hungry and more than a little tired from our hike and play. We made our way back to the camp to whip up some lunch. When we arrived, we ran into all of our camping neighbors that had made their way into the park during the morning hours.

We met a some great folks from Canada, especially Autumn, the nearly two year old girl next door. Edward and Autumn hit it off and played most of the day. Just across from our Canadian friends were three couples from in and around NYC.

This group of campers was definitely having a good time. The adult beverages where flowing and they had an excellent party attitude going on. Edward and I joined in with Jim, Alan, Mike, Leah, and Erin for some ladder golf, cookies and an all around fun afternoon.

As the day rolled on, we made some time to gather more kindling for another camp fire. This one even better than the first. We ranged far and wide to find enough sticks to start a fire. We had plenty of fire wood and marshmallows, so we were pretty well set.

We cooked up some dinner on the awesome grill from Uncle Jim and Aunt Sarah. Who knew you could eat hot dogs so many meals in a row. Certainly not for me, but Edward seemed to love it.

Checking on the tent
Checking on the tent

After dinner, we took a quick trip over to the park to check out some live music that was going on. Turns out that neither of us is really that into salsa music. Needless to say, that trip didn’t last too long.

We made our way back to the camp site, started up the fire and roasted up a new crop of marshmallows. As we made our way to the tent for the night, it started to rain lightly. It rained all night long and we managed to get pretty wet inside the tent.

There were no obvious leaks, but the water seemed to seep through the walls and onto everything in side. Needless to say, we were a little chilly the next morning.

Edward got dried off and took some time to warm up in the truck while watching his video player. I broke down the camp and got everything picked up. Seeing how everything was soaking wet, we thought we’d just head for home.

All in all, it was a great trip and we met some really fun people. Edward and I have already decided we’re going to do it again soon.

Want to check out Taughuannock for yourself?

Taughannock Falls State Park
State Park Site: Taughannock

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