This past Saturday was a blast. The day started early (I left my town at like 5:40 a.m.) and ended late (I got home around 12:15 a.m.).
But, it was all worth it.
It included a mile and a half hike through the gorge at Watkins Glen State Park. I got to do a bunch of photography. It also involved caching, a geocaching event, mingling with other cachers and eventually more caching. It also included one of the best subs I’ve ever eaten and a late trip home.
So where to start?
How about the beginning?
The day began early, though a little later than expected. We eventually made our way to Watkins Glen State Park at about 8 a.m. or so. The goal was to do some photography here (amazing waterfalls) and then head up to Sampson State Park for the New York Geocaching Organization (NYGO) summer picnic. (The event started at 9, but we figured to get there around 10:30 or so).
Yeah, that didn’t work out too well.
The gorge trail at Watkins Glen is about a mile and a half long and a lot of it goes up. Though a steady climb, it’s going up. The waterfalls are amazing and you actually walk under a couple of them. From top to bottom, there are 832 stone steps and I don’t even want to think about how many are at the end (it’s about a 250-300 foot set, straight up with a couple of landings where you can stop. I should have taken a photo of these, but I didn’t).
Originally, my thought was to hit Rainbow Falls and then turn around to the parking lot. However, I was talked into pressing on. Yikes. Those last steps are incredibly hard. To see an image of Rainbow Falls, follow the link on the words to my photo blog, where I’ve already posted that shot. It is worth the trip alone to see those in person.
But the hike, whew!
Anyway, some images from the park and the hike are below. I am putting ones here that I won’t eventually be putting on my photo blog. Check there on occasion to see others as I’ll be mixing them in with a lot of other things I’ve been shooting recently!
This is the first waterfall that you see in the park. It is right near the parking lot and you eventually get to walk over them on a stone bridge.
This is another set early in the walk. I love how the stone of the gorge is carved beautifully around the water. Very cool stuff.
I like the use of long exposure with my waterfall photos to get that silk view. Unfortunately, some of the falls at Watkins Glen are shielded by some of the gorge, which doesn’t give you a full shot. At the same time, I really like how you get the moss and the gorge shaping the falls.
Nature really is amazing, isn’t it?
The gorge gets people really looking around, too, as you can see from the group I was with:
Anyway, we ended up going to the top. Two of us took the shuttle down (which was good because we got to walk around the gift shop and all) and the other two hiked back down one of the different trails to the bottom. Needless to say, we weren’t getting to the NYGO event by 10:30, considering it was already like 10:30!
We did, however, go scout out a few caches — I needed to get three to give me 299 finds, which would make the event my 300th. The first was an Earthcache inside Watkins Glen State Park. The best part is that this earthcache could be done at the beginning of the gorge, so if you just wanted to land the cache, you could. Alas, we were going forward, so it was nice to get it early.
After, we went into a neigboring cemetery to get a couple more. Now, cemetery caches can either be good or bad. Good if they show you something historical or take you to an interesting headstone and maybe make it a multi or a puzzle cache. I don’t have a problem with these because it brings people to a place where they can see something from the past and I’m a firm believer that connecting the past and present is very important.
The first part of the multi took us to this headstone:
Anyway, we ended up with two and made the long jaunt to Sampson State Park. Well, not long — it’s only like 23 miles — but on those roads it took a while. We ended up getting there around 12:30. Enough time to eat some lunch, sign the logbook, buy some tickets for the raffle and mingle.
Mingling is the best part about these events, I think. You get to meet some interesting people and see different walks of life. I got to meet a cacher from Florida and one from England as well. Talk about long travels! Very cool stuff though.
In fact, here are some people looking for one of the temporary caches at the event. Left and right are from England with the middle one being from Florida:
The group shot is also always cool to have from the event. Scroll back a few posts and you’ll be able to see that image as I’ve already posted it.
After the event, we went with another local cacher (so five of us) and got all the caches in the state park. Following that, we were looking at the “gift shop” there and ran into another cacher (guinea_gal) and had a long chat with her, discovered some coins and even traded, which was cool.
Following that, we headed out (three of us) and did a few caches in the Ithaca area and also ate at one of the most amazing sub shops I’ve ever been in. It was a great sub, good service and a cool setting. If you are ever in Ithaca and get the chance, I would highly recommend you going to the Shortstop Deli and grab a sub. Well worth it!
After getting home, I went down and had a few beers with the guys before calling it a night. But one heck of a day it was — I got to do two things I really enjoy in this world — photography and geocaching.