Cayuga Community College’s Nature Trail

A place of beauty and peace

blog by Bobbie Panek

The sound beneath my feet is crushed gravel and the occasional crackle of dried leaves. Cicada’s sizzle fills the air in the heat of summer and birds call to each other as they flit from tree to tree.

A lone rabbit sits beside the path. He’s facing the woods and his big brown eye’s watching me. Quickly he scampers into the woods.

Cayuga Community Collge - Nature Trail Sign

A young couple holding hands kick the same small green wild apple, their own soccer game; and they are on the same team.

And then I see the deer, her light brown body shimmering in the fading sun. When she picks up her head and looks at me, her large pointed ears look like golden gilded elm leaves.

Another young couple sits on the wooden glider swing. She leans on her backpack with her feet dangling from the side. They are deep in conversation.

It’s hard to describe the nature trail and what you’ll find there. Maybe it’s the trees with their different textures, maybe it’s the ponds with their ripples, maybe it’s the turtles who sun themselves on the jutting rocks, or the way the sun casts shadows in the woods.

Cayuga Community College Nature Trail

Maybe it’s the wooden bridges with their moans and groans, or the butterflies that play hide and seek, it could be the curve of the trail, or the berry bushes that sparkle red and purple. It could be the tall timothy grass and the vines traveling up trunks. Or maybe it’s the woodpecker’s tap tap tap.

When you decide to go to the nature trail behind Cayuga Community College, bring along all of your senses. See if you can find the tree root that looks like the eye of an ostrich, look for a bird’s feather on the ground, have a seat on the polished red bench in the shade, and try to find the fake frightening bat in the crux of a branch. Look for bark hanging by threads and purple thistle that displays its brilliant fuchsia flowers as if invited to the landscape. See if you can find the large rock in the shape of an English springer spaniel. Can you find a pine tree dripping sap from its trunk like an open wound?

The trail is about one mile long and it curves around a natural woods. Every season this trail is inspiring whether it’s a summer day or the coldest day in winter. It’s a great trail for you to sink into the sights and sounds of nature; where you can retreat from traffic and tv.

Along the Cayuga Community College Nature Trail

It’s a place for thoughtful musings, for a great conversation with a friend while getting exercise, a place to bring your children for them to play and explore. What awonderful treasure we have here in Cayuga County and hopefully it will be enjoyed by many--whatever the season.

This wonderland is beckoning you. Maybe a Great Blue Heron will welcome you at the pond. There’s plenty of parking in the college parking lot. So c’mon, do some exploring.

Bobbie Panek lives in Central NY. She’s a poet, writer and wanderlust. You can read more about her at