Watkins Glen, NY – May 2018 – The Glen

While I have known that Watkins Glen, New York had a true ‘glen’, I had always known if for the racetrack (see previous posting). On this day we spent a couple of hours exploring the park – and it was well worth it.

As we started down the 400′ deep ravine we had no idea what we were in for.

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We went through a spiral staircase in a tunnel and came out to this – a nice 60′ waterfalls.

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Which the path lead behind.

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On the other side was a view further down the ravine.

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We opted to head up the gorge for an hour or so – a beautiful hike indeed.

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Waterfalls Day, Alberta and British Columbia – September 2017

A drive through Alberta and BC turned out to be ‘Waterfalls Day’, but not before meeting some locals along the road.

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First stop was Maligne Canyon, Alberta. This very narrow canyon featured a nice waterfalls with numerous erosion ‘pots’ along the river.

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After crossing into British Columbia, we found Rearguard Falls. It is noted as the furthest into the mountains that salmon make it from the Pacific Ocean to spawn. Unfortunately we saw none, even though this is the time of year they migrate.

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In Wells Gray Provincial Park we found Spahats Falls, taller than Niagara. We thought that was amazing until we continued on to….

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Helmcken Falls – 420′ high, nearly 3 times the height of Niagara, with great volume as well.

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The water rushing over provided excellent visuals providing a great ending to Waterfalls Day.

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Icefields Parkway, Alberta – September 2017

The trip continued north from Banff toward the Icefields Parkway, a 180 mile drive to Jasper that takes you past numerous glaciers on the mountains. But first we made a stop for an invigorating hike up Johnton Canyon. This hike included numerous catwalks suspended above the canyon floor, as well as traditional paths. The effort lead to two great waterfalls.

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Just before the start of the Icefields Parkway is Lake Louise, a popular tourist stop – so popular there are numerous attendants directing traffic through the entire town to get to the parking lots. We stayed about 30 minutes before leaving the crowds and heading on…

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Because a short drive later you were on the Icefields Parkway and has better views with far far fewer people.

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At the Columbia Icefields they offer an option to take a tour onto the Athabasca Glacier that included a visit to the ‘Skywalk’, a cantilevered walkway with translucent floors to see straight down 1000′.

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The special Ice Coaches were constantly ferrying people onto the glacier. They made a point about how fast the glacier is receding, you would think all the traffic can’t be helping it.

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But still, we got to go on a glacier.

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Our day ended at Athabasca Falls, near the town of Jasper. I have had many spectacular drives, but the Icefields Parkway is easily one of the 10 best ever.

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Logan, OH – June 2017 – Whispering Cave

Having made a number of trips to Hocking Hills State Park to hike the trails to the caves and cliffs, we thought we had seen them all. Fortunately this spring they opened a trail to a cave that had been off limits for 50 year, Whispering Cave.

Named so because of the acoustics that allows a person to whisper on one side and someone on the other side can hear what was said. The trail has been opened, and with an early start we had the place to ourselves.

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Leaving Whispering Cave and continuing on the Hemlock Bridge Trail, we passed on great rock formations.

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After a two mile hike we arrived at Lower Falls – Old Man’s Creek

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The climb out of the gorge

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Upper Falls – Old Man’s Creek

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Interesting lighting on the cliff walls. It was a great day of hiking in the cliffs and gorges.

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Cuyahoga Falls, OH – April 2017 – Kayak Races

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The Cuyahoga River wanders for almost 90 miles around northeast Ohio, ending up (in a straight line) less than 20 from where it starts. While mostly known for it’s industrial portion in Cleveland, much of the path it is a small wild river.

The town of Cuyahoga Falls, near Akron, is the site of a waterfalls (hence the name) that had been rendered non existent for 100 years from dams. Those dams were recently removed, returning the river to it’s natural state, including an impressive waterfalls.

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For the second year this portion of the river featured kayak racing. A Sheraton Hotel is situated at the falls, and the view from the balconies of the falls and action was spectacular.

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The entire event seemed well organized, with safety being foremost. The local fire department rescue team provided support, as well as the race organizations staff.

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The kayakers had a series of white water rapids to run through before going over a couple of fairly large (possibly 10′ high) waterfalls.

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Many of them flipped during this portion, but nearly everyone was able to flip themselves back over.

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This is a great event, and really showcases the river nicely, as well as the city of Cuyahoga Falls.

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We are looking forward to returning in 2018.

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Niagara Falls – Late Summer 2016 Road Trip – Day 16

The best time to visit Niagara Falls if you don’t want people in your photos – before daybreak on a Sunday. The roar of the falls drew us to the edge of the park to see the white water before it crashed over the edge. The glow of the buildings from the Canadian side of the falls cast some light on the falls but it was a shadowy image for us to see. Niagara Falls seemed exceptionally larger to me than the falls we saw in Quebec.

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I believe it is the expanse of the gorge and the enormous volume of water flowing from Lake Erie into the Niagara River over the falls that is so amazing. Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls; Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and American and Bridal Veil Falls on the American side of the gorge.

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After a return to the hotel to get breakfast and checked out, we headed out for some more views of the falls. We parked the car in an empty lot and walked across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada for a better view. The bridge gave us a great view of Horseshoe Falls and as the sun rose above the falls; the lighting improved the beauty of the scene even more.

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Since we were going back into Canada we had to pass through immigration, where we were reminded that we had to stay behind the little black line on the floor before approaching the window, even though we were the only people there. But they let us back into the country, and we proceeded up the hill onto the Ontario side.

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The area was nearly empty and perfect for photos. The sunlit mist rising from the gorge was very pretty. The Ontario side is very well landscaped, obviously built for the crowds that regularly view the falls from this vantage point. But on this early Sunday morning we had the place to ourselves.

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One of the attractions is a zip line down into the falls. I have read that the tacky commercialization of Niagara Falls in the 1800s lead directly to the push to create the National Park Service, and it is clear that in the 150 years since the people of Niagara Falls still haven’t learned their lesson. Even with the beautiful landscaping of the park along the Ontario side, they still obstruct the view with zip lines.

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Usually met with objections one of my favorite photo subjects are people posing for photos. This morning I was presented with a perfect opportunity, one man fussed with his turban while the other man, a version of Joe Dirt, played with his rooster-comb styled haircut.

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But you can only have so much fun, so we decided it was time to walk back to America, and we headed across.When we had crossed the first time a couple of hours earlier I had noticed the immigration entrance was void of any cars at all, so it was surprising on our return to come up on the bridge and see traffic stopped fully across the bridge.

As we walked on I noticed all of the entrance lanes had red lights lit, indicating they were closed. It was then I realized it was September 11th, at the time that the first airplane hit the World Trade Center.

From the walkway on the bridge you could see the immigration workers standing at attention around the flags, which were at half staff, in tribute to the tragedy.

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Once they completed we walked inside where I complimented them on the sincerity of their tribute, and they seemed genuinely thankful for the compliment, and we passed quickly through and on to our car.

Our long drive back to Columbus went without event, and we arrived home safe and sound and extremely pleased with yet another fantastic road trip. This passion has allowed us to see amazing places and meet lots of cool people, and as soon as we are home we are looking forward to the next one.

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