Story and photos by Daniella Zelikman
After four years studying marketing and writing at Ithaca College, there’s still so much in town I want to explore. Between the gorgeous nature trails and exciting events, I’ll likely never run out of things to do in Ithaca, but I’m determined to make the most of my last year and the first place I visited was the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve. While I’m not much of a hiker, I do enjoy spending time in nature, and the Preserve offers a quick, easy way to get a fix of the outdoors.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the forest is perfect for a midday stroll to shake off the stress of the school week. While there is currently ongoing construction at the entrance, it doesn’t disturb the actual trail and is quickly lost behind the trees as I walk further into the woods. The path is well laid out, marked with blue blazes on the trees, and follows the rushing roar of Six Mile Creek. The trail is flat with only the occasional narrow scramble up or down rocks, perfect for an inexperienced hiker like me.
The flowers along the path are still in full bloom in September, a nice surprise as I wind my way down the trail. I spot more than just the typical trees and flowers on my walk. Hidden behind trees and in unusual, hard to reach places are graffiti tags on boulders and cliff faces. On the walk back to my car, I caught sight of an entire wall covered in colorful tags, especially impressive because the wall faced the river.
Even on such a nice day, the trail isn’t busy. Along the way there are sandy outcrops by the river where sunbathers have laid out blankets. The flatness of the trail means it’s dog-friendly and I meet with more than one happy canine on my walk, but for the most part, I’m in my own company. The Mulholland Wildflower Preserve is a quiet, contemplative kind of place and that’s exactly what I do as I head deeper into the woods, considering my homework for the weekend and turning over possible story ideas for my personal essay class. I’m not concerned with what I find at the end so much as enjoying the journey and the warmth of the day.
The end of the trail isn’t anything grand. I come to a rocky outcropping that looks out over the river where I can see a broad expanse of water, bracketed on both sides by trees still in their summer-time bloom. I take a moment to rest and admire the view before turning back. As I near the trailhead, I feel refreshed and ready to face another long week of classes.