September 11 Watkins Glen, New York

The rest of the photos for this day are linked here.

Watkins_Glen (1) It is a delightful feeling to wake to sunshine pouring into the windows on a Saturday.  Especially when our day ahead included some hiking, some wine tasting, and a bit of actual relaxation. A bit of fog drifted around us from the pond outside our doors and breakfast tasted wonderful with the time to eat slowly and savor it.

I took a little time to actually finish writing blog posts for the last few days, process photos, and check email.  The internet connection here is too slow to upload anything, but at least I could get on the internet long enough to make sure all is well at home.

After breakfast we took a little time to walk around the pond and then left for town and Watkins Glen State park.  Even though the races are over, the area is crawling with vintage sports cars and traffic is heavy.  We paid the fee to park at the main gate, (with Abby safely at home in her crate for the duration) and walked into the park.

Watkins_Glen (6) The Gorge Trail follows the Glen River through a steep canyon cut dramatically into the slate layers creating 19 waterfalls and many more smaller cascades throughout the length of the hike.  Tunnels have been cut into the gorge by hand and more than 880 stone steps follow the path of the river to the top of the gorge in just a mile and a half of almost steady climbing.

This is evidently a very popular place and many people were hiking the stairs and everywhere camera flashes were popping in an attempt to capture the light and shadow in the very dim canyon.  We walked to the end of the trail where there is another state park entrance, a gift shop, and a shuttle to take people back down if they can’t manage the stairs.  We chose to take a different route along Indian Trail back down rather than negotiate the very steep steps.  I can hike up but the downs are pretty hard on the knees so the trail, while steep in some places, was still easier than all those stairs, and we got to see a different view.

Watkins_Glen (9) Watkins_Glen (15)
Watkins_Glen (10)

Like everyone else in this canyon, I took way too many photos, trying to capture the light and shadows and the beautiful cascades.

Afterward, we drove north on Highway 14, the Seneca Wine Trail, along Seneca Lake for a bit of sightseeing.  Seneca Lake is one of the eleven Finger Lakes. and the climate is moderated a bit by the lakes, and the low rolling hills adjacent to the lake valleys are perfect for growing Rieslings, Pinot Gris, and other white wine grapes.  There are more than 50 wineries within a few miles of the lake in this area, and it is the highest concentration of wineries anywhere in the US except for the Napa Valley. We didn’t really want to spend the day wine tasting in the area, but did think at least one stop was called for.  The winery we chose was unassuming, in an antique weathered old barn, and the tasting fee was only $2.00 for 5 tastings.  The wines were just OK, except for a delightful Pinot Noir that I bought more to commemorate our visit, and a truly yummy black raspberry dessert wine served with chocolate.  I am a newcomer to dessert wines, but this was definitely worth having.

Watkins_Glen (33) The town was still very busy, and that made it less than appealing, so we went shopping for some incidentals, and drove home to have yummy leftovers for supper and visit with our neighbors. They were from the Netherlands, had traveled to Nova Scotia on a freighter, rented an RV in Halifax, drove south to New York, planning to return the RV in Toronto, then take the train to Manitoba where they will rent a car and drive to Minnesota to meet friends they met on the freighter.  Wow!  One of the gentlemen was a rose breeder who had worked in the US, and the other one told a very funny story about some adventure they had in Texas.  You haven’t heard anything till you have heard someone from the Netherlands trying to do a Texas accent!

Tomorrow we will try to find the Grand Canyon of the East in Pennsylvania on our way to Ohio.  By Monday, we will be in Casstown visiting friends for a couple of days.  It’s hard to imagine that this trip is on the downhill side as we turn around and head back west.


Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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