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Sep 16, 2016

Watkins Glen State Park (NY) ~ Field Trip Friday

One of my favorite places in the world is the gorge at Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes of New York.  It is, as they like to say in nearby Ithaca, "gorges."  Glen Creek drops about 400 feet over a two mile stretch.  There are waterfalls, pools, caves, and stairs.  Oh the stairs.  Over *800* stairs, actually.  I've hiked the gorge dozens of times with my parents, friends, and the bigger, Dave.  I know the gorge is one of the places Dave has truly missed since we moved to Vermont.

I've never managed to get M and the littles there in all this time.  Daddy likes to hike and I was sure he'd appreciate this location.  Xav also enjoys hiking and Merrick is up for just about anything we take him to.  That kid has so much energy, he was hopping and running ahead.  We're talking a three mile round trip.  When we finished he went to the playground!  Mal hates any kind of physical activity.  It cracks me up when he says that, because he's learning Tae Kwon Do.

Anyway, there really isn't a lot I can say about this beautiful area.  I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.  We ended up parking at the top entrance.  Don't ask, it is a long, sad story involving antique cars and a road race and me not actually knowing how to reach the alternate entrance.  We walked down the Indian Trail, which is usually the direction I go, because coming up the Gorge Trail is way more beauteous.  *Usually* I am headed down the easier trail *after* walking up the stairs.  Oh the stairs.  Did I mention the stairs?  About 832 of them.

There's also a cemetery on this trail.  Xav stuck to me like glue until we were well passed it all.

Dad pretending to be irritated with us.  :)
If you walk all the way to the end, you do end up duplicating some of the hike back.  But it was in the 80s with 99% humidity.  I am not friendly with humidity.  My glasses were fogging up the whole hike!  Anyway, because of that, we went on down to the gift shop and refreshment area for cold water and lemonade.

After checking out some of the bajillion and three cars in the lower parking lot, we headed back up the Gorge Trail.  This is the entrance from the lower end.  You first come in on a bridge.  I love that tunnel-cave thing on the right.

Here are six of the 19 waterfalls on the trail.  So amazingly beautiful.  I really {bigfatpuffyheart} this place.

There were tons of learning opportunities along the way, though they can't tell you everything on the display signs. 

I really thought this one about fractures was interesting.  Of course, it was set up right near the most fascinating example of a fracture.

Another one of my favorite spots.

A few more random shots.  I love the spiral tunnel.  We used to always pretend it would be full of bears.  Thankfully, it never was.  Not even this time.

Climbing Jacob's Ladder.  We're nearly back to the top.  180 steps to the end!  I may have briefly thought I would die.  But I didn't have any knee trouble, even with those stairs.  Those STAIRS!  sigh...  I'm so happy to be losing the weight that was becoming so damaging on my joints.

Resting at the top.  I was just a few steps below.  Last one up's a rotten egg!

It has been *many* years since I've hiked this and it's a real jewel of the Finger Lakes.  If you ever travel to the area, definitely make a stop at the Watkins Glen State Park.  Parking was $8/car.  The trails are really well groomed and maintenance stays right on top of things.

The boys and me before...

and after.  Sticky, tired, proud.  And thirsty.

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