A Walk Through September
Come September, western New Yorkers remember why we live here and not somewhere else.
This can be hard to recall at other times of the year. February, for example. Or April 15. Or even July, on one of those days when 90-degree temperatures melt the mind and humidity turns memory to mush.
But in September, we lift our heads, scent the freshening breeze, and say, “oh, yeah, that’s why.”
The month encompasses both summer and fall, from Labor Day barbecues and pool parties to the cool month-end segue into October’s rich hues. In between, we savor summer in the afternoons and feel autumn’s approach in the slight chill of the mornings. Misty, thoughtful days alternate with sunny ones in which the sky is an almost painfully piercing blue. A warm spell may coax late-season rose buds into full bloom, or an early frost blast them into blackness. Every season of life in a mere thirty days.
The sharp tap of a leaf falling to the sidewalk snaps us to attention. Invigorated, we scan the horizon, thinking, “There are great things I must do. I must be about them. Whatever they are.”
We sign up for fall courses, sharpen our pens and begin that novel, start planning next year’s garden (which will correct all the failings of the season just past). Most of all, we take a walk.
September walks are different from August walks. In summer, a walk of any duration is really a stroll, a drowsy thing undertaken amid the buzz of insects and the glare of the sun. A September walk always feels purposeful, even when it has no particular destination.
This is the month when we wear life close to the skin. Shake off summer lethargy and take a walk.
Why would anyone live anywhere else?
Take a Walk!
From your own town to the State parks, western New York is filled with great places to walk. Here are just a few to get you started – but the best walks are the ones you make up as you go along.
Letchworth State Park
“Grand Canyon of the East” may be a slight exaggeration, but hey, it’s a lot easier to get to. With 14,350 acres and close to 70 miles of hiking trails, Letchworth draws hikers of all abilities. Whether you’re looking for a quarter-mile walk after picnicking or a challenging 20 miles on the Finger Lakes Trail, you can satisfy your walking needs here. From the NYS Thruway take I-390 south to Exit 7, turn onto NY 408 to the village of Mount Morris, and north onto NY 36, 1 mile to the park’s north entrance.
Stony Brook State Park
At 577 acres, Stony Brook is smaller yet often feels less crowded than nearby Letchworth State Park. Try the Gorge Nature Trail, West Rim Trail, and East Rim Trail to enjoy waterfalls and wonderful views. (Note: Stay on the trails. As their names imply the terrain is steep, and serious falls are available to those who wander off.) Get to Stony Brook via Route 36 in Dansville.
Allegheny State Park
This 65,000-acre park features one of the state’s few old-growth forests, not to mention a lake, swamps, campgrounds and of course lots of trails. Take Route 17 to Exit 19 to reach Allegheny State Park. And for serious hikers, here you can pick up the 800-mile network of trails known as:
Finger Lakes Trail
With a main trail, six branches and a couple of loops and spurs, The Finger Lakes Trail should be able to satisfy anyone’s “walkies” impulse. Check out the web site to get all the details and find the perfect piece of the trail for you. If you’re contemplating becoming an “end-to-end” hiker, contact Ed Sidote at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.