They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!


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Hiking is my therapy

“Hey, it’s supposed to be beautiful out this weekend. Care to join us for a hike?”

“I’m in town today! Free for dinner?”

“I have dinner plans in the evening so I can’t go hiking with you guys during the day…because, you know, timing…” …That doesn’t even sound convincing to ME…

“Errr…I would go but…I already made plans with my cats.” No, that’s not an acceptable answer.

“I’ll have to pass, but next time for sure!” There! Vague, but polite. Just make sure not to post pictures from my solo hike on the same day they went hiking and no ‘solo dinner, finally!’ type of posts either…

It’s still a struggle for me sometimes to say no to people I usually love spending time with without feeling guilty. I know it’s a cliche but really…

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The things is, I’m known for my need for alone time, my preference for doing things alone, and my love of staying at home in my lion onesie while hanging out with my cats. And yet…I still feel bad for saying no, especially when I intend to do the same activity I’m being invited to. Perhaps with time I will learn not to feel guilty for doing what I need to in order to recharge but for now…vague responses and setting a separate time to hang out it is!

Guilty or not I did end up pretty much not talking to anyone I know that weekend and it was exactly what I needed. First of all, it was an incredibly beautiful weekend due to the unusual occurrence of gorgeous autumn colors coupled with summer weather. Think fall foliage with 70 to 80 degrees F temperature. YES.

Thank you, Google Photos for this awesome stylized photo! (original wasn’t this cool)

Second, with the election going on and people commenting on the election on social media in ways that I feel are not conducive to intellectual and meaningful discussions, my social capacity bucket has been near empty pretty much everyday. Did someone poke a hole in it when I wasn’t looking? Because lately my inner grumpy cat has come out and I’m annoyed with everyone. Well, not everyone per se. Just certain types of people.

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This is not like me. I do enjoy being alone and I particularly love going on hikes by myself but spending time with those I consider my good friends usually makes me happy. But, unlike me or not it was clear to me that I needed to clear my head and so I pushed the guilt aside and went hiking. The day before I went to Sugar Hill State Park  in Watkins Glen, NY and this time I decided to check out Salt Springs State Park in Montrose, PA. I didn’t realize the food connection until just now lol! I guess I decided to go somewhere sweet since I was feeling salty. Pa dum ching! 😄

Salt Springs State Park is not actually maintained by the state contrary to what the name implies. It is, however maintained. What that means is there are marked trails and maps and everything!

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Even though the trails were marked, the path itself wasn’t as well maintained as state maintained parks, which means it looks really pretty with all the leaves on the ground!

It also means you have no idea what you’re possibly stepping on, as I came to find out when something jumped out from under my feet.

I’m very glad I stayed true to myself and went in anti-social mode this weekend because at the end of the weekend I felt more like myself again. Nature tends to have that effect on me. How could it not?

I was happy, my mind was quiet, and I felt excited about life again, even though Monday was fast approaching.

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Hiking is my therapy and I am very grateful to live in an area full of beautiful trails.

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Releasing my inner #basic

It’s fall season! That means it’s time for sugar and pumpkin spice and everything nice! Leggings and sweaters and fuggs (fake uggs) and pumpkin spice latte and my favorite…the fall foliage!

Yaaas! Look at ALL the trees!

Take all the pictures!

Even if you know the pictures will end up looking the same, take more pictures anyway!

Being from LA I had no idea what a true fall looked like. I mean, the leaves back home changed color too but they mostly just turned brown before dying. We did not have this explosion of colors that look almost fake in its brilliance.

I mean, just look at that! Doesn’t it look fake? Heavily filtered? Something out of a fantasy video game?

Pardon my excessive enthusiasm but I just can’t help it. Fall seems to get me every time.

Tired of looking at trees yet? Come on, just one more.

Oh come on. One more won’t hurt. Just the tip (of the tree, that is. Stop that dirty mind!).

Oh but right. Details. Where was I? I was in Sugar Hill State Forest Park in Watkins Glen, NY, a park that along with hiking trails also has horse trails and a cool fire tower. 

I thought you would be able to go all the way to the top where that enclosed shed looking thing is in the picture. Unfortunately, there was a locked shut trapdoor (that I almost walked into) on the last flight of stairs. Oh well. Maybe next time it’ll be open. 

This is the first state park that didn’t have any paper maps available. It’s also the first state park I’ve been to where I didn’t have to pay for parking so I’ll take it! But they did have this cool map:

I made sure to take this picture prior to my hike so I could follow the right trail (I didn’t follow the right trail) and so that I didn’t get lost this time (I got lost).

It was a very short hike (because I went the wrong way) but it was still exactly what I needed. It was such a beautiful day. Perfect for just being in the moment and getting away from everything else. I ended my day with a cup of hot mulled cider, and by cup I mean ginormous mug.

Just kidding. My day didn’t actually end there. It was a friend’s birthday party so I went out afterwards.

I know, I know. My face looks really different when I actually do something to it, right? 😀 

Today was actually a very good day. It was a great combination of enjoying my solitude on a beautiful day and having a blast at night with some good company. My favorite kind of day. 

Balance is key.


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It’s Just So BeautiFALL (see what I did there?)

A few weekends ago, it seemed like I was experiencing the peak of fall in Binghamton, and I had a feeling from then on there would be less and less pretty leaves on trees. So I decided to be efficient in getting all my work done (unlike now) so I could have a Sunday Funday.

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It’s amazing how focused I can be when there’s something I really want to do. How come I can’t be like that every time?? In any case, I managed to get all my work done because, well…

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Since it was fall, I decided to get a pumpkin flavored coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts (no Dunkin’ Donuts back home) then went on my way to Taughannock Falls. As usual, I was extremely fascinated by my drive. It is just so, so beautiful around here and I just can’t seem to get over it. When I go on these little mini-adventures, it’s usually about the drive just as much as it is about the destination.

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And with me being me, I naturally got lost even though I was using GPS. BUT, I came across this awesome view though!

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I didn’t go to the actual trail for Taughannock Falls because I only had a couple hours left before it got dark, so I just went to the overlook. And just, WOW.

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What’s cool is I actually visited the same overlook a few months ago, during spring, so I was able to better appreciate the change.

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Pretty cool how different it looks in the fall, right? Fall just makes everything so colorful. Even the trees in the parking lot were really cool to just look at.

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Here was the entrance to the trail. How cool is this?

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The colors were just so amazing! I showed a co-worker from back home and he asked me to zoom in on the trees because he thought those were flowers. Nope, just the pretty leaves that we don’t see back home in southern California.

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Then I came across my favorite view so far. It just absolutely blew my mind.

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Just…wow. How are you even real?

I continued down the trail and found myself in a park, where I just hung out for a while.

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I was in tree heaven. 🙂

I haven’t gone on a mini-adventure since then and the leaves are already starting to fall. 😦 But I was told fall takes longer to arrive the further down south I go so that means I need to plan a visit to DC, Virginia, or maybe even down to the city again. Can’t wait!


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Fall in the Neighborhood

I always notice the trees whenever I drive around, but one day, I decided to stop and take pictures. These were taken in Endicott and Johnson City. Absolutely beautiful. I’m glad I was able to capture these before all the leaves are gone. I’ve already noticed that some of the trees have gone bare. Oh, fall. How beautiful but short-lived you are.

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Seasons

I had made a comment on Facebook about how fall in New York feels like winter in southern California but also mentioned how it was worth the cold because of how beautiful it looks. My uncle then shared with me what the seasons look like in Ohio and I just had to share because it looks so beautiful!Seasons in Ohio

In hindsight, I should’ve picked a tree around here and took pictures showing the different seasons I’ve experienced so far, but originally I thought I wasn’t even going to make it to fall! No matter, I am still very much enjoying the process. I didn’t think I would feel as excited as I did when spring first came after winter (omg green!) but I was wrong. Seeing the leaves starting to turn red is bringing me just as much joy. I definitely can understand now why people would choose to live in a place that has actual seasons.


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The Leaves are Changing

One day I walked out of work and came across this:

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Then when I got home I was greeted by this:

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The leaves are changing! I also notice that they seem to change on a day to day basis. Everyday the trees look more and more red/orange/brown. AHHHHHH!!! I’m so excited!! My friends here commented that they were very amused when I first mentioned how excited I was to see the one tree that went rogue and decided to turn red/orange/brown early. They said, “Oh yeah, that’s nothing. Just you wait.” 😀

I know I’ve been acting very childlike in my reaction to seasons around here, even during the biting cold winter (because snow!) but hopefully it brings back memories of their own initial reactions during their childhood for the people who grew up around here. I wonder if I will always feel this way about the change in season or if my enthusiasm and excitement will fade over time. I guess if it does, all I need as a reminder is someone like myself who has never experienced it before to open my eyes once again to how amazing this all is.

Speaking of being childlike…on my list of things to do once we’re in the middle of fall is to jump in a pile of leaves!

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