Today we really felt like we had the first complete experience that we had been looking for on this trip. It rained some overnight, but ended before we got up. A quick look at the forecast confirmed a pretty day in store - mid 60’s and mostly sunny.
We got ourselves up by 7:30, and out the door at 9:00. We drove the 1/2 hour to Watkins Glen and found the State Park. The gate attendant saw our Michigan plates and asked us what was up with the Tigers - so we let Data answer that question on our behalf. While I don’t ever plan to be a sports fan I do see (through Data) how it quickly becomes a common ground for people to connect on.
Our state park camping permit hanging from the truck mirror gave us free parking ($8 savings) so we drove in, took a potty break, and headed up the trail. We mainly wanted to get ahead of a large tour group assembling behind us( as it turned out they were more motivated to get through the trail in a short time so we let them pass).
The park is gorgeous. I just about didn’t know where to aim the camera because there were so many photos to be had. I ended up shooting almost 100 photos over the few hours. The walk was wet, muddy in spots from the recent rain, and we had to choose our path carefully. They say there are 18 waterfalls on the hike, but I’m not sure how they count as it seemed like every 50 feet or so was another waterfall.
What did strike me during our trip was how many of the more popular attractions like this were built in the early 1900s, and would likely not be possible in todays more stringent ecological/political landscape. To think of putting in a long paved pathway with suspension bridges and restrooms would raise the hackles of too many people today, I think.
At any rate, it was a pretty hike, on a pretty day, and we felt like finally we had enjoyed a bit of what we had envisioned while planning this trip.
After the hike I explored along the waterfront of Seneca Lake where we had a tailgating lunch of crackers, cheese and meat. There were some pretty aggressive seagulls and I bet the kids that they would be able to feed them by hand. The kids were a bit skittish about the idea, so I gave it a try. I was successful and managed to get a photo with the other hand at the same time.
We then detoured out of town to see the Watkins Glen International Speedway, then let the Garmin route us through some pretty backcountry roads on the way back to our campsite. We stopped at an Aldi’s on the way back, shopping along with some local Amish or Mennonite folks. I had to wait for a horse and buggy walking back to the truck in the parking lot.
Once back it was time for a fresh pot of coffee, a short nap, supper (chili left in the crockpot while gone all day), and now MsBoyink is doing some cleaning and rearranging of our cargo while I catch up the blog and the kids play Yahtzee in their bunks.