Reasons I Love New York State Parks

by Margo on May 15, 2012

Looking out over Robert Treman State Park, in Ithaca, NY

Happy Top Five Tuesday!!

It’s been a while since my last Top Five post. I couldn’t think of any interesting lists for you. It was a lot easier today, after spending yesterday trekking around another NYS Park. Once it warms up in the spring, Mark and I take the girls out hiking whenever we can. Yesterday was Robert Treman Park, just south of Ithaca. As we walked along the trails, I was reminded of all the reason I love the New York State Park system.

  1. There are state parks everywhere. You can find one within 30 miles of anywhere in the state. From where we live, we have seven or eight within a 45 minute drive. If we go another fifteen minutes, there are several more that we can reach. It makes it easy to find something to do on nice days when there’s not much else going on. We love seeing how many we can get to each summer, and we’ll even be visiting a couple while we’re on vacation this year.
  2. Hiking along the trails is great exercise. We live right on a main street in town, and we don’t have much of a yard. Hiking gives us all a chance to get out and burn up some energy. The stairs and hills are great for burning calories, and we’re always in much better shape by the end of the summer than we are in the beginning of the summer.
  3. The NYS parks are beautiful. I’m yet to visit a state park that doesn’t make me itch for a better camera. I could spend hours taking pictures of everything photo-worthy, and still not come close to capturing all of it. There are breath-taking views everywhere you look. There are also plenty of opportunities to observe wildlife of all types. Lately, we’ve seen an impressive number of interesting bugs, including a few centipedes, but we’ve also seen birds (including a few bald eagles), lizards, and smaller mammals.
  4. I love the mature hikers. Even if they do breeze past us on the trail, not breaking a sweat, while I feel like I’ve just run a mile. Seriously. We’re talking people in their upper-sixties and seventies, and there are a lot of them. Every time we go to a state park, we see two or three senior couples that look like they’re out for a Sunday stroll, despite the steep terrain. These people are my heroes, and I really hope that Mark and I are still out on the trails at that age.
  5. Hiking is the best way to spend time together as a family. No computers, no cell phones (except to take pictures), and no distractions. It’s just the four of us, enjoying some sun and exploring new trails. We talk, we laugh, and we teach the girls to love nature as much as we do. What could be better than that?

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