Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sunrise Scribblings (Day 2-Part I)

I woke up stiff-necked and sore. With a decent ache from the dedicated, earnest effort needed for the rugged inclines of our completed treks, I'm reminded that I'm not as fit as I once was. The bed was comfy enough with plush pillows and cozy blankets. The room truly was a great, last minute find. (Thank you Mariah!) Yet, the mixture of the unfamiliar noises creeping about the hotel, the memories of the glorious day that had just ended, and the restless excitement of the day to come, all buzzed around in my head keeping me awake. Excitement and Caffeine must be cousins because both will do a remarkable number on you if you wish to sleep!

Easing the stiffness with some yoga stretches to loosen the ache, I'm already feeling a lot better. Mariah is still snuggled up in her bed with sweet slumber, so I'm doing my best to keep quiet. 

I have truly missed writing. It is a marvelous way to unwind. I am going to wrap this up and get a bit more rest before the second leg of our current adventure. Today we venture to the waterfall-of-waterfalls, massive, expansive, sheer power and awe of nature and God's artistry: Niagara.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Delve Into Ithaca (Day 1)

The lush green farmlands rolled along the horizon, kissed by the sun of a clear blue sky. With the tension of the recently concluded semester melting away as the miles extended on, Mariah and I were ecstatic to be on our way to some of the grandest hiking in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. Just a brief two hour drive from our small Pennsylvanian town, the landscape transported us to an entirely new world.

Robert Treman State Park was the first stop on our adventure.
This park is known for its dense woods, refreshing, scenic waterfalls, and the majestic beauty of Lucifer Falls, the park's grand falls that cascades 115 feet down its rock face.

Mariah Climbing
As we began our hike at the lower end of the park, we were greeted swiftly by an intense incline of strenuous steps. The forest smelt of ripe moss, pine, and rich, wet earth. The air was humid and warm, eased every so often with a gentle, cooling breeze from the distant storms that bellowed hello to us with the rolling of thunder. Time disappeared in this wooded haven. We relished in the beauty of it all.  Numerous roaring falls, plenty of small trails leading to the stoned shores of the river, the elegant mummer of  teaming streams, all accompanied by the pleasant ease of great conversation. We even savored the rush of a little cliff climbing. I am grateful to have such a remarkable friend like Mariah to share these sights with.

Lucifer Falls

Lucifer Falls is an outstanding giant. I had seen the falls previously last year, but this time more strength erupted from its banks. The gift of warmer weather brought a greater amount of water to add to the power of this breath-taking beast. Rushing down layer upon layer of slate rock face, the falls cascades into a beautiful gorge with cliffs rising hundred of feet around, opening up to the seemingly endless treetops of the woods we just emerged from. After drinking in the incredible sight of Lucifer Falls, Mariah and I continued a mere quarter mile to the top of the gorge for a quick rest, and then retraced our steps down the gorge. Brief, refreshing rainfalls joined us off and on. A welcoming sensation on our warm shoulders, sweet kisses washing away the sweat and salt gathered from the satisfying feat of the miles covered in the past few hours. Savoring that feeling of triumph that swells deep within the soul, radiating out through smiles and cheerful conversation, we reached the lower gorge and packed up for the next trail.

Majestic Watkins Glen

Our next stop was an extravagant and endless feast for the eyes. Watkins Glen is an immensely majestic wonderland of stone, water, and foliage. It is surreal and unimaginable how such a breathtaking place could possibly exist this side of Heaven. This is one of the most brilliant places I have ever experienced and have been blessed to gaze upon, leaving me forever changed.  The splendor of the Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen, is bursting with abundant waterfalls, some fierce and powerful, many of which are plummeting down the gorge its water carved and created. Others located on the higher levels of the trail rain down with effortless elegance and beautiful form. We felt as if we had stepped into a scene from Lord of the Rings.

Fierce, Powerful
The trail is mark by a beautifully laid stoned pathway that hugs the hips of the river. The air hung cool upon us with the sunlight concealed behind the carved canyon walls and the white mist mingling in the air. Breaking out from beneath the cliffs and into higher, open path, the day grew warmer. Lush, green trees, shrubbery, and bright wildflowers adorn the gorge. Peculiar infant trees grow at odd angles out from the side of the cliff walls, a fascinating sight. One spectacular section of the trail is when it winds along the stone rock face and right behind one of the gushing falls. Thousands of gallons rushing right before you, filling you with awe from its mighty force. Leaning forward you can witness the water plummeting down into the depths of the gorge where it crashes with a power splash, and then continues its journey onward down the river. In comparison to our previous hike of steep inclines and declines, this trail was easier in the sense that it has a gradual, easy-going incline up until the last few yards. Do not be fooled, to reach the pinnacle of the trail we had to climb a brutal set of staircases known as "Jacobs Ladder". Mariah and I were left almost breathless, and needed a decent rest before the decent. The Gorge Trail is the number one thing I recommend venturing if you find yourself in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.
Breathing in the calming serenity that surrounded us, we rested along the shores of Seneca Lake to  wind down the end of such an incredible day 

Seneca Lake
 On the drive back to our hotel, we saw a Chili's which struck us with immediate excitement. Famished from the long and adventurous day, we feasted like kings on excellent food, humorous conversation, and great company.
Now it's time to tuck in a get some rest to recharge for tomorrow's adventure.

Venture On.