It was the summer of ‘69 and I’d just bought an inexpensive six string guitar.  I played it so much that I’d broken the skin on my fingers. Those were good days.  The best days, actually.

Wait, that’s not right.  Maybe is was the summer of 2016.  Yeah, that’s it.  June, 2016….it’s all coming back to me now.

My wife and I were on our way to Indiana to meet up with my parents, uncle, and grandmother to spend a few days where my dad’s family is from. It was also a chance to celebrate the life of my great grandmother who had passed away a few months prior at the ripe old age of 96. My wife and I had taken a couple extra days off before and after the scheduled time in Indiana in order to explore a few places like this.

The first day’s journey brought us to a place called Watkins Glen.  I know what you’re now thinking: “Ohh, big surprise, the car guy went to the race track”.  However, while we did see a couple cars with roll cages and numbers on the side, that was not the reason for our visit.  Don’t get me wrong though, at some point I’ll get out there for a race and/or some track time!  This time, however, what we actually came for was the state park.

If you are short on time, here’s the one word description of Watkins Glen State Park: spectacular. Proof is below.

If you are trying to get to sleep and are having a hard time of it, here are some more words to take place of the sheep counting: Over the last couple million years Glen Creek has worn away at a mixture of shale, sandstone, and limestone to create a very deep gorge.  The river still runs through the middle, still working away to make it deeper and deeper.  But, since that takes awhile, humans have built a network of trails around the area for our viewing pleasure.  Several paths run along the top and bottom of the gorge, offering amazing views and photo opportunities, although, when it’s busy it’s quite difficult to not get other people in your shots (Damn tourists)!  There are waterfalls, rapids and even some slow moving pools.  Most of the waterfalls are small cascades where the water has worn away at the softer rock more quickly than the harder stuff.  There are several points where water trickles down the cliffs, sometimes making you walk under them (there is a roof, but, you might want to shield the camera!).  Toward the main entrance is another waterfall.  This one is a little taller and unlike the cascades throughout the park, it free falls for a bit.  Over the years, this fall has created a hole for itself to fall into, and around the inner perimeter is a path to walk around it.

The lower path follows along the water with the cliffs looming on either side.  There isn’t much vegetation other than the moss that grows along the wetter areas of rock.  But, that’s okay, there’s a canopy of trees at the top and when those mix with the bright green of the moss and the dark grays/black of the rocks, it’s quite beautiful.  Along the top there are paths on either side that will occasionally offer great views downward, showing just how much power water can have when you give it some time.  At the furthest end from the main entrance it starts to widen and the trees and vegetation start to get closer and closer to the water until you reach Jacob’s Ladder.  This steep climb leads to the western entrance of the park and is 180 steps tall..  Even higher above, a train bridge looms. I’m guessing the view from that is pretty good! Speaking of steps, Jacob isn’t the only one with steps here.  According to Wikipedia, there are a total of 832 steps in the park. Jenny and I counted 750 on our walk back to the car. It’s a good thing I’m in shape, huh?  Round is a shape, right?

From here I think I will let the pictures do the talking:

If you ever find yourself in the area, this has to be on your list of places to visit.  Just bring your walking shoes.  It’s only a couple miles out and back, but, no one will tell you they are easy miles.

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