November 17 is National Take a Hike Day! I will take advantage of what little daylight will be remaining when I get home tonight in the Finger Lakes and take a quick hike with my faithful hiking partner Shadow. In the meantime, I will share an Insider Diary that I wrote a couple of months ago. Don't let the snow & cold stop you from taking a hike today - embrace the beauty of nature, no matter the weather!

Go take a hike! There was a time when I didn't appreciate when someone would say this to me. Tell me to take a hike today and I am like a child in the candy store. Do you want me to hike up a hill, walk in a creek bed to the spectacular waterfalls in Grimes Glen or maybe experience the peaceful beauty of the trails at Ganondagan?

The possibilities are endless here in the Finger Lakes. The landscape of lakes, hills, waterfalls and the seemingly endless meadows are spectacular in any season. It was just within the past few years that I started hiking year round and enjoying the beauty of our local state parks in every season. Fall is certainly my favorite and as the leaves slowly begin to change and the air becomes a little brisker, you will find my faithful hiking companion, Shadow and myself enjoying the trails in our New York State Parks every chance that we can take.

My favorite summer hike is Grimes Glen Park in Naples, NY. I choose to hike the Glen in the summer because you need to get your feet wet to truly enjoy the beauty of the waterfalls. The water level is easier to maneuver and a little bit warmer than in the spring or fall. I had the amazing opportunity to spend two days in Grimes Glen recently with a nature photographer who is documenting the four seasons in the Glen. I thought I was very observant hiker, but I never realized how much I was missing until this time I spent with someone who noticed every fungus, every unique rock formation, and how the water flows in such spectacular ways. The first day was a sunny, beautiful day and the second day was overcast and raining – each day distinctive in highlighting the beauty of the creek bed, the waterfalls and the vegetation. I recommend a hike in Grimes Glen to all of our hiking visitors but to be sure to have a sturdy pair of hiking shoes that you don’t mind getting wet!

Shadow and I visit Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, NY year round. Ganondagan is the site of a Native American community that was a flourishing, vibrant center for the Seneca people. The Earth is our Mother Trail takes you through various landscapes – forest, wetlands, and hilly meadows. Signs along the way give descriptions of the foliage native to the area, with the Seneca pronunciation and the various ways that the Native Americans used the vegetation in their everyday lives. The Earth is Our Mother Trail is especially beautiful in the winter – there is an added peacefulness and serenity that I experience hiking on a crisp, cold day with the blue sky above. Visit the 17th-century Seneca Bark Longhouse and then walk the Trail of Peace. Signs along this trail tell the story of the Seneca Indians and the destruction of Ganondagan, the Town of Peace.

Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area is required for hiking in the fall. Located in Honeoye, NY and overlooking Honeoye Lake, the view into the valley is spectacular with the fall foliage as far as the eye can see. Hiking trails abound through the forest, with a carpeting of fall colors at your feet – or paws!

I know that I could go on and on, but I hear that little voice in the back of my head telling me “Go take a hike!” Happy trails to you!

Check out this amazing video from the Travel Channel which highlights some of my favorite Finger Lakes State Parks