Wednesday Nov 18
Watkins Glen State Park gorge trail
This is the main parking lot and entrance to the gorge trail. A couple of thoughts:
First, this is by far the most popular state park in the Finger Lakes — well over 50% more visitors last year than at Taughannock, the next most popular — since parking in this small lot and entering the gorge through a tunnel through the rock is the only way to get the full stunning impact ….
…. imagine the mob scene at peak season. But you can have this gorge all to yourself, if you wait until early November. In fact, most of the cars in the parking lot were ours, and we saw only a handful of other people. But don’t wait too late into the month — the gorge trail closed the day after we hiked it.
The other thought that the parking lot prompted in me is, what an absolutely fantastic benefit for us the 1930s federal CCC program has been! So many wonderful hours we’ve spent walking on the improvements constructed by the young CCC workers. The parking lot scene actually made me think of the ruins of Aztec construction you can find in Mexico — great public works from the past.
It turned out a number of the hikers Wednesday hadn’t done Watkins Glen in decades — a few people had never done it — the ride is only 36 minutes from The Commons, but somehow people never seem to get around to it.
There’s 800-some steps to the full trail — not too tiring if you hike
regularly like we do
Official head count: 23 hikers, one dog (who wasn’t supposed to be on the
trail but hiked under the radar — and he wasn’t the only dog there).
After the hike, 13 people headed a few blocks away for lunch at the Crooked
Rooster, a brewpub.
How popular is Watkins Glen SP? From the state DEC page about the park:
“In 2015, the park was chosen from more than 6,000 state parks across the
nation as a nominee in the USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Poll for Best State
Park in the United States, and won third place!”
You can see eight more photos by me online here.
You can see Jack V’s photos here.
You can see Annie’s photos here.
Saturday Nov 21
Upper Treman SP, Enfield
Sunday Nov 22
Upper Buttermilk Falls SP
Great start to our 2015 hunting season — no hunter could ever mistake our chattering, noisy, colorful hikers for a herd of deer. In fact, I didn’t hear a single gun shot either day. This line-up was on Saturday’s hike.
This one from Sunday morning — for whatever reason, everyone seemed unusually cheerful both days, and we had a really good time.
A good bit of ups and downs and stair climbing both days. Saturday, descending the Red Pine Trail in Treman — slippery leaves and loose rocks — nasty combination, and much steeper than it looks in the photo.
Sunday — stairs at the outflow end of Lake Treman —
…. and stairs along the edge of the lake — you need to wear about a size 1 shoe to be able to walk up these stairs comfortably
We also did the massive super-steep staircase just below Lucifer Falls on Saturday — I was too stressed worrying about losing my balance to get any shots — but here’s a photo from a minute or two later, at the famous look-out over the falls — I had to bleach out the background to get any details on the hikers
Here’s the inflow end of Lake Treman — the state did a major flood control project here a few years ago — the results look terrible, IMO — I keep hoping the area will have started to recover its former charm every time we come here, but so far, still looks awful
If you’re into hiker fashions, I think hunting season’s the best time of the year by far, because of all the colorful coats and hats — at other times, our group can look pretty drab
Here’s the official weekend head counts:
Saturday: 31 hikers, four dogs
Sunday: 41 hikers, six dogs
The lighting Saturday was especially lovely, and I had a wonderful time in the woods
More photos online: