We get a leisurely start this morning on our 80 mile drive to Romulus New York and Sampson State Park. The park is a former Navy and Airforce Base with nearly all signs of the military removed other than the maze of deteriorating asphalt roads through its 2070 acres.
The campground has 5 loops and over 245 electric sites as well as 64 boondocking sites. None of the sites has water. There are spigots centrally located and you can take on water as you enter at the dumpsite. I always wonder about potable water at dump sites. Lucky for us, our site had a water spigot in our backyard so we just filled up when we parked. It looks like many sites can accomodate any size RV.
Each loop is designed in a circle with a large grassy area in the middle which is ringed with back in sites, There are then sites opposte those and across the road which ring the outside of the circle. I saw no pull throughs. The one bath house for each loop is inside grassy area and those backed into the grassy area have a huge communal backyard.
Although the sign on the road in claims that most sites have a water view, that is just flat out not true and I don’t see how it ever could have been. Only loop 5 has one section right by the water.
More details about the park in a later post.
Our friends David and Sharon moved in today as well. They are in a loop closer to the water in terms of walking distace. That alone makes me like it better. LOL! They are here for 8 days and we will be here for 14 days. We’re looking forward to lots of fun times with them. This afternoon they come over to help us take care of the raspberry rhubarb pie David got yesterday at the Perry Farmer’s Market during the Perry Chalk Art Festival.
I think they liked it better than I did. I’m not a big rhubarb fan. Too tart.
This morning we all head out early to drive to Watkins Glen. We have heard so many rave reviews of this place that we are super excited to see it. We’re hoping it isn’t too badly affected by the 9 month drought here in the Finger Lakes.
The gorge starts right here. We are going to enter through the little door on the right into a tunnel, up some stairs and cross the bridge over the first waterfall. Pretty dramatic entrance but it’s nothing compared to hiking the gorge. It’s important to say up front that even with pehaps 10% of its usual water, Watkins Glen is spectacular.
Notice the nice gate they can close off after hours. There are gates like this at both the gorge and rim trails at the top and bottom. No sneaking in, they hope.
The action of the river has created a beautiful backdrop for this shot of Sharon and Dave. The walkways along it are all stone and fit right into the beauty.
There are 19 waterfalls in Watkins Glen. I’m in heaven!! This isn’t the first one we have seen but it is the first of two that we get to walk behind. Just imagine this fall with even 50% more water.
It’s the stair step picture.
As we get just beyond the falls, we notice a rainbow in the waterfall.
That’s the suspension bridge WAY up there. It’s actually even further away than it looks.
Pretty sure I’m not posting pictures of all 19 falls but they are so lovely it’s hard to resist.
There are also 834 steps to the top of the gorge so be prepared.
This bridge is about 1/3 of the way up and you can shorten your hike by crossing it and taking the rim trail back down. Otherwise it is 3 miles round trip. Or you can catch a shuttle($5) at either the top or the bottom to take you back to your car.
I love the sensuous curves the water has carved out all along the gorge. That’s a pool I’d sure like to swim in. No swimming allowed though even in low water level times.
Pausing before more up, up , up.
It’s amazing how green it is here in spite of such a long long drought.
Behind another waterfall and up some more stairs. Sharon’s wearing the right color for this dark landscape.
David and I are lucky enough to see this Gray Petaltail Dragonfly. He flies in and lands on the rock wall between us. Gray Petaltails live in forest where the ground is wet from constant seeps of clean water. As of 2006 this gorge is one of only 11 confirmed locations in New York where they have been found. Becasue of limited habitat this dragonfly has been listed as a Species of Special Concern in New York and several other states.
The Gray Petaltail’s friendly nature is a threat to its survival. They are giant dragonflies and sometimes land on people. Most people’s instinct is to swat them. Look before you swat is really the watchword here. He really was friendly and hung around a long time so I could take numerous pictures.
We can tell by the flatter terrain that we are nearing the top.
We hike up our last set up steps which has this bench for sitting. David takes advantage.
We head out to what is supposed to be an overlook but that was in the past. No views now. All grown over. Instead, today we get a sermon by our favorite declaimer who chooses not to hike down to check out the view. It’s a Monday, not a Wednesday Nancy and Bill.
Can’t you just hear him??
We head back down and after crossing the suspension bridge we take the Rim Trail back down to the parking lot.
The rim trail takes us into the forest where we find a nice log as our lunch spot for the day.
The rim trail is what one thinks of as a regular trail through the woods and of course it goes down, down, down. Very few views. The last stretch is a set of stairs called Couch’s Staircase. Notice the gate just like at the beginning.
Remember the shot of the truck in the parking lot this morning? Look at it now.
On the way home, David follows his nose and takes us all around and up and down. This is wine country and we count 25 wineries in 13 miles on our way back.
What a terrific day we had, made even better by such great friends. Thanks Sharon and Dave for driving and being such wonderful hiking companions.
If you are in the Finger Lakes Watkins Glen should be first on your list as it was ours. Hopefully you’ll be here when it is really roaring but even if you aren’t, you can see how beautiful it is.
Mother Nature is quite a sculptor!