Back to School & Back to Nature

Is it September already? Where did the summer go? Don’t think for a second that packing away your beach gear means saying goodbye to nature! As you are out gathering those school supplies, make sure to add hiking boots and a tent to your list for September necessities. It is the perfect time to check out the amazing woods of upstate NY, PA, NJ, and anywhere else your feet can take you.

Hiking Trails Worth Visiting

For those new to hiking, a great place to start is PEEC, Pennsylvania Environmental Education Center It offers trails from half 1/2 a mile to 5 miles, of varying difficulty.  What makes this place so incredibly special is that each trail has a detailed educational guide that allows you to truly learn about your environment. The guides provide the history of the land, the types of vegetation and critters you might encounter, and of course, a detailed map of where to go. They also provide a detailed bird guide for those fans of our feathered friends.  It is perfect for the young and old.

If you need a little help getting started, check out one of their guided events.  (The fossil hike sounds fantastic for the junior geologists in the family.)

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Photo Breakneck Ridge View Trail on Trails.com

For those looking to branch out on their own, a fantastic place to start your hiking odyssey is Trails.com. You just put in the area you are interested in exploring.  The site will provide you with a map of all the local trails, details about the trial itself, and highlights of what you might see. What makes the site unique, is it  provides reviews from other hikers, which can be a huge help in deciding which trail is right for you. You do have to register to get the goods, but it is completely free for two weeks.  After that, they charge $49 a year. That may seem steep, but with their help you can confidently explore anywhere there is a trail.

Camping in NY

Maybe a day just isn’t enough for you and your kin to fully commune with the woods.  No problem.  Check out the Parks & Recreation’s website for a tent site  just for you. (For those not so woodsy, there are cabins but they will cost you about as much as a hotel.)

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Photo of Bash Bish Falls at Taconic State Park from nysparks.com

The site allows you to pick the region and  the types of accommodations and recreation available.  It also allows you to book your spot. Be sure to read any warnings as to bears, natural fires, and firewood regulations. Other than that, you can’t really go wrong.

I recommend Taconic State Park if you have little ones. It is only about an hour and half outside the city.  Great variety of trails that are not too difficult with big payoffs, such as the gorgeous falls shown in the picture. They even have handicap accessible cabins and trails.

Potential campers do be warned; the Leafers are coming! It’s no joke. Book early, as in today, if you want a crack at a spot under the changing leaves.

Enjoy the start of autumn everyone,

-Brandi

*I highly recommend you toss a copy of Bill Bryson’s  A Walk in the Woods in your backpack for some very enjoyable  campfire reading. *

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