June 27, 2017 | By Zak Klick
As June 27th marks the U.S. National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day, it seems fitting to highlight our region’s natural remedies for those suffering from past trauma. While nothing is guaranteed, much research has been done associating the positive effects of exploring the outdoors to those suffering from PTSD and depression.
For example, in 2015, University of Michigan researchers surveyed Veterans before and after a multi-day wilderness recreation experience, which involved camping and hiking in groups of between six and 12 participants.
One week after the experience, veterans reported a greater than 10 percent enhancement in several measures of psychological well-being, a 9 percent increase in social functioning, and a nearly 8 percent gain in positive life viewpoint.
Since our area is rich in waterfalls and forestry, we thought it would be appropriate, on this day, to offer calming places to visit the outdoors. Without much further ado, here are some of the best outdoor locations we, the Finger Lakes Premier Property staff, could locally advocate for planning your next outdoor adventure.
Upper, Middle + Lower Falls in Letchworth State Park
The Grand Canyon of the East, Letchworth State Park is home to three of the largest and most stunning falls you’ll find along the west side of the Finger Lakes. About 25 minutes from some of our vacation rentals along Consesus Lake, this expansive park features the main attraction at the Upper and Middle Falls, with over 50 smaller cascades scattered throughout the park. With activities planned year-round from guided tours and white water rafting, to snow tubing and cross-country skiing, this attraction is ideal for an outdoor adventure any time of the year.
Watkins Glen Waterfalls via Stone Stairs
One of the most iconic waterfall destinations in the Finger Lakes is the Watkins Glen State Park, where you can walk under, over and through 19 waterfalls. As you climb over 800 steps through the park you will be completely immersed in nature with plenty of resting stops along the way to enjoy some quiet moments of solitude. Located right in downtown Watkins Glen and minutes from Seneca Lake where you can continue to enjoy a peaceful getaway in the Finger Lakes.
Shequaga/Montour Falls South of Watkins Glen
Just south of Watkins Glen you’ll find the Shequaga Falls in downtown Montour Falls. Find a comfortable spot at the base of the massive falls that are easily accessible for most, and enjoy the thrilling sounds of the water crashing into the basin below. If you’re looking to hike, follow the 5 mile Montour Falls Historic Trail Loop to explore more falls and lookout points.
Lucifer Falls + Lower Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park
A very popular summer swimming hole for locals is at the Lower Falls or Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY. In addition to taking a relaxing dip in the fresh water from the falls, the park’s rugged gorge called Enfield Glen continues for 9 miles of winding hiking trails past 12 waterfalls, including the 115-foot Lucifer Falls.
Buttermilk Falls in Buttermilk Falls State Park
A local favorite is Buttermilk Falls State Park at the south end of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY. Hike the park’s Gorge and Rim Trails to take in the view of cascading Buttermilk Creek, enjoy a soaring cliff jumping adventure, and cool off in the natural-fed swimming pool at the base of Buttermilk Falls, the largest of the park’s 10 falls.
These are only a few of the locations in the Finger Lakes where cascading waterfalls may be able to provide soothing comfort for anyone, even those experiencing PTSD symptoms. Once again, this is a supplemental treatment for those wanting additional help and not a proven form of relief. Those suffering from severe psychological dysfunction should contact a medical professional for assistance.
For more information about PTSD, its symptoms, support, and more, visit the website for the National Center for PTSD.