The first hike of the season is something I always look forward to. While it is sad to see the snow go away, and to have to put the skis in to storage, being able to get in the woods for a hike is very relaxing.
This year, my good friend Dennis had a challenge for me; drive out to western NY to do a one day, 24 mile, hike through Letchworth State Park. Short on vacation days after a winter of skiing, this would mean working Friday, driving 8 hrs, hiking Saturday and then driving back another 8 hours on Sunday. I readily accepted his challenge.
The hike itself was beautiful and Letchworth State Park is a "must do" if you are in there area. It is aptly named the "Grand Canyon of the East". The western side of the park has a road that follows the ravine the entire way and to the falls. You can get to it in just under 30 minutes if you're driving along I-90 by Rochester.
The trail we were on followed the eastern side of the Ravine, starting in Portageville, NY. With an early start, we parked the car and headed down the Genesee Valley Trail, only to find the Southern Start of the trail to be closed due to construction. A quick road hike around, and we were back on the trail.
I can not begin to tell you how many waterfalls you encounter on this trail as you hike on the side, through and up many smaller gulches. The forrest itself changes as you pass through it, encountering different patches of evergreens and hardwoods as you hike along.
While we were on the trail for just over 13 hrs, it was early season so we ran into only a handful of other people. We had the trail to ourselves for 99% of the day, and wouldn't have had it any other way!