Friday, June 19, 2015

South Shore of Lake Ontario

Did you know that there are pretty cool sand formations on the south shore of Lake Ontario? 

We camped at Fair Haven State Park.  It was pretty empty, the way we like it! We had a campsite right on the south shore of Lake Ontario, amazing sunsets.  

The Ranger let us know about the cool sand formations and how to get there, I found a better way!  My way included a LONG empty beach.  Just take the service road which heads out east of the campsites.

Basically, I just kept the water to the left of me on the way out. Much to my surprise, I found a pretty long empty beach. The boys were very happy.  This beach is excellent for dogs, as it’s all rocks, no sand, no one wants two sandy wet dogs, wet’s ok, but, add sand, that’s a pain. So, we just walked on the beach, I saw a romantic fog coming in, but I didn’t realize that was a storm front, we were just about 2km out when it started Thunder storming. Duke’s usually a mess during thunderstorms, he actually wasn’t too bad! Buddy was fine. I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to stay on the beach or head toward the forest during a thunderstorm. Buddy kept walking into the woods, and peeking out at us. Duke was just basically stuck to my side.  We went into the woods for a while, the thunderstorm was beautiful, it got pretty crazy. So, it lightened up a little, so we continued in the rain back.

Jerry was amused at how wet we all where.  Anyway, he made me the best meal every, again, and then make it perfect,  it cleared up enough for a beautiful sunset. 

Grand Canyon of the East!

Did you know that there is a Grand Canyon of the East!? It's in Letchworh State Park.

Didn’t know it was even here! BEAUTIFUL! Well worth the visit. 

The camping was excellent too.  I loved the shower pressure! I’d go back just for the shower pressure. Not the elegance of the showers, that’s for sure, but, when you’re camping, a good shower feels like heaven!

If you do not have a second vehicle, and you like to set up camp and not move your vehicle again till you leave, then plan to see the BIG waterfalls as you come in or leave.  The BIG falls and attraction is way too far from the campgrounds for most people. It was 10miles each way.

We secured our campsite, which was awesome by the way, then headed over to the touristy part, but, it was beautiful and well worth seeing. The view from the middle falls was my favourite.

I suggest you park in the middle and go up and down the ridge to all the three waterfalls.
Back at the campsite, the ranger said there wasn’t really any hiking, so, I had low expectations.
I was delighted to find he was wrong! On our hike, we kept on running into amazing waterfalls! FUN! I don’t know about you, but, I love finding non touristy waterfalls in the woods. Makes you feel very special. First hike we took was Trail Route 18, it was along the ridge overlooking the  river.  The trail is far enough away that you have no fear of slipping over unless you’re a curious dog! Glad Duke made it back, he’s an amazing dog! Don’t think he realized how steep I was.  I knew he’d be fine, he’s always been an amazing climber, but, it did look odd when he disappeared then a moment later all you could see was his head and two front legs on the ground.

The next day we took Trail Route 18 toward the road, took the road north till Trail Route 19.  This combination was awesome as far as finding Waterfalls.  If you’re going to take that route, just keep listening for the rush of waterfalls, then look for where there are less formal trails, follow the sound, and voila, waterfalls. LOVE IT!  

Hiking and jumping in puddles! Chapman State Park

We camped and hiked for a couple of stormy, yet very enjoyable days in Chapman State Park Pennsylvania.  

Chapman State Park is surrounded by over 500,000 acres in the Allegheny National Forest. Someone say hiking!  I live for trails! Our 10 year old Duke becomes alive in the trails. 

On our first hike, which was cut short due to the thunderstorm, we found the swing bridge on the Lowlands Trail. We had hiked just a couple of km pasts the swing bridge and the skies opened up - we were caught in a tremendous thunderstorm, Duke was glued to my side on this short hike, Buddy didn’t seem to mind.  We hiked back in the storm. When we got back, everything was so wet I had to ring out all my stuff.   I can tell you the pack I had was not water proof at all, my paper maps were all melted due to being so wet.

When the thunderstorm past, we went for a second hike through unpassable puddles, we heard a road was washed out, but, it was not a main road. So we walked through the puddles with my last pair of dry running shoes, water was past my ankles.  Forest was dripping too, so, again we were drenched, but, funny enough we didn’t mind at all. I felt like a kid jumping in puddles, nice! We took the Lowlands trail again from our camp ground, this time we were going to take it out straight out to the Forest Game Land, but, the signs reading “Hunt Carefully”, it put me off, so we turned back and crossed at the swing bridge again, took that trail till Game Lands Road, went right and caught Adams Run Trail which was rugged, hilly and very wet.  As it was late, and I didn’t have a dry map I could read any longer,  I thought I’d play it safe and turn back, retrace our step to the Game Land road then make our way to the 68 acre lake and then attempt to go around the lake. That worked, it was perfect.  We made it back, soaked again, but, very pleased at our adventure.

Next day, we were off by 6:30 am, we wanted to get an early start as they were predicting afternoon thunderstorms again. So, I had to wear very, very, very, very, wet running shoes, and socks that were dry, well, dry until I stepped onto our first trail.    Couldn’t tell a creek from a trail sometimes, but, again, it was enjoyable. We managed 15 km, first couple of kms were through puddles and hills.  The boys certainly had enough running water to drink from. We headed through the Lumber Trail aiming toward the 300 miles of snowmobile trails, those trails where on higher ground and dryer.  We circled back and walked around the 68 acre lake again and headed back to the camp.  We were wet again as it rained on and off, but, the raid doesn’t seem to bother us anymore.  

Well, as I write, this, we have only wet towels left, nothing dry, only wet socks and hiking shoes, but, it’s our last night camping, before we go visit friends in civilization, so, we’ll be just fine. I also realized that dry shoes and socks are over rated when it comes to hiking, WHO KNEW!?

8th wonder of the world

We stopped to see what once was called the 8th wonder of the world, in he Allegany National Forest, is the most amazing Kinzua Bridge. 

This bridge was built in 1882, it was truly an engineering masterpiece. It once soared 301 feet high and 2,053 feet across and was at one time he highest and longest railroad bridge in the world.  The engineer, who built it, Octave Chanute, also helped the Wright Brothers fly! I would have loved to have met that man! 125 men completed that bridge in just 94 days, that’s crazy!

It was an engineering breakthrough; they designed tall wrought iron columns able to resist vibration and buckling.

1900  they had the trains became heavier, so they had to erected with 6.7 million pounds of steel. 

Then in 2003, in 30 seconds, mother nature sent through a tornado. She tore  through the forest, ripped out 100s of trees and 11 of the bridges 20 towers were lifted and thrown onto the valley floor.

Now the bridge is a Sky Walk, they even added a window floor where it ends.
We were very impressed.