September 7th, 2002
Day 143

Start: Aurora, NY
Finish: Aurora, NY

Miles Today: 0
Miles to Date: 13122
Trooper Mileage: 182043

Dave is yet another Lehigh classmate and Theta Chi fraternity brother located in yet another convenient (for me) place in the country. He is a geologist (with a PhD in hydrology) for the US Geological Survey. Marie is an ornithologist with a lab at Cornell University.

Today we took a little driving tour around the Finger Lakes region. We made a few stops, one of which was at a local farmers market where all the foods looked very fresh and very organic. Later we moved on to Ithica. There is another gorge (there are gorges all over this area) that runs right through the middle of Ithica. Although not quite as dramatic as the Watkins Glen gorge, it is still quite a sight, with still pools and cascading waterfalls, and the fact that it is somewhat of a pedestrian throughway connecting the university to the rest of the town makes it not only lovely but also useful.

Cornell UniversityThis area is beautiful in a different kind of way from other places I've been. It does not have the dramatic relief of the western mountain ranges, or the wide beaches of the coastal areas. However, the gorges are hidden magical places tucked into forested crannies, where you can almost stumble on them by accident and be totally amazed by what you find. The weight of the 2-mile-thick glaciers of the last ice age did not completely flatten the landscape, but left rolling hills which are now covered by forests and farms. It is still late summer here, and the trees remain green (although somewhat stressed by the drought that continues to affect this area, as well as much of the east). I imagine the fall colors are breathtaking. I also imagine the winters can be brutal. I'm glad I'll be spending my winter back in the desert (unless I get unpredictably way-laid on this trip).