Watkins Glen State Park is one of my favorite places to visit. The campgrounds are wonderful, bathrooms are clean with flush toilets and running water, and the hiking trails are great. The best trail is called the Gorge Trail and is the one that everyone comes to hike. The trail is carved right into sides of the gorge and goes up over 800 steps over about a mile and a half. It goes over, under and through 19 waterfalls along the way. Although the waterfalls weren’t flowing as much as I have seen in the past, it was still an extremely beautiful place to visit!
Kevin and I set out to do the entire 20 mile Capital Area Greenbelt trail which creates a loop around the city of Harrisburg, PA. I was excited to check this trail out because I was considering doing this trail as the yearly group ride that I organize instead of the Lehigh Gorge Trail which is the one we have always done. I am really glad I checked this trail out prior to taking an entire group of people. There were some fairly steep hills and lots of road riding which some people who come are very uncomfortable with.
We parked at City Island and took the walker/biker bridge across to the start of the trail. The first few miles were completely flat and followed the Susquehanna River. There was a lot of artwork, painted dinosaurs and a cow – I HAD to stop and get a quick picture of the Triceratops that was across the street because they are my personal favorite dinosaur – FYI. 🙂
After getting rained on at Baxter State Park we decided to head to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. The weather was only slightly better, but we had a hotel instead of a tent! We decided to drive the loop road and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain first. It was so foggy and misty that there were no views at all. There was a camera man at the summit taking videos for the 100th anniversary of the park – watch HERE – you can’t miss me with my bright pink rain jacket – LOL! I’m taking the photo you see below left.
We decided to come back the next day because the weather was supposed to be slightly better. There was really no point in driving the road when you could only see a bit in front of the car because the fog was so thick. We ended up heading to our hotel to shower and then went to grab something to eat. We were pretty tired so we settled into the hotel and hoped for better weather the next day.
First, let me start this post by saying I GOT TO MEET THE SUMMIT CHICKS!!! I GOT TO MEET THE SUMMIT CHICKS!!!! 🙂
Let me backtrack: I have been using the Summit Chicks’ blog for quite some time as a reference for my own high pointing road trips. I was so surprised and excited when they contacted me shortly after I started my blog and asked if I would want to hike a highpoint with them – ummm YES!!!! 🙂 They found me because I left a comment for another blogger who was starting out highpointing and I suggested she check out their blog. After chatting back and forth we decided Katahdin in Maine would be the peak we would go after – how exciting! The Summit Chicks (Raina and Jill) put together the whole trip – it was in the works for MONTHS because you have to snag a campsite about 4 mths ahead of time for Baxter State Park. They have a ton of crazy rules and the girls did a lot of research to figure out what would be the best option to hike Katahdin.
Kevin and I got up early to pack the final things we would need for our trip and put them in the truck. We gave Willow (my cat) her insulin shot and set out for Stowe, VT to try to hike Mt Mansfield before they closed the toll road at 5- I knew we would be cutting it close and my heart sunk when I punched the address into the GPS and saw the estimated arrival time was 3:30- that was over an hour what my phone GPS said!! “We’re not gonna make it” I said – it takes approx 20 mins to drive up the toll road – plus let’s say 2 hrs to hike and enjoy the views and then 20 mins to drive back down- the website says all cars must start driving down by 4:45 at the latest because the gate closes at 5. This did not give us enough time. Kevin said his GPS the time always goes down as he drives. We figured we would give it a try and see if we made it- I wanted to be there by 2 to be safe but knew that just wasn’t possible. On the long drive I started looking for options for plan B.
I joined a cycling club a few weeks ago which I LOVE – I have met so many awesome people, although I have to admit I was worried that on my hybrid I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Turns out I had no problems (and they gave me a 20% off coupon to a bike shop which includes bikes—-could we see a road bike in my future?? Probably yes! 🙂 WAHOO!) Anyway – I have done a few rides with this group – the problem? There is no time to stop to take pictures and too much beautiful scenery along the way! LOL!! I knew an upcoming ride was going to go right by this awesome wildflower patch that everyone has been buzzing about lately, but I couldn’t bear it if I couldn’t stop to take a picture – or 100 – so I decided to bike there myself before the group ride. I talked my mom into going along so we picked a spot that was fairly close by to park and cycle there. Now you can just drive up and park in the grass, but what’s the fun in that?? 🙂
Since the weather has been so nice I decided to try to finish biking the on road section of the Conestoga Trail. I asked my mom if she wanted to go with me because we would be going through a few more covered bridges and I knew she would like to see them – but she is very uncomfortable riding on the roads. We decided to have my dad drive the route so we could see just how busy the roads were. When we got to the end of the on road section we decided to bike back to Oregon Dairy (which is where I stopped my ride last time) and meet my dad there for lunch. It seemed like we would be going down more hills than up. There was a short on road section that we skipped because it was pretty busy, but we found a good place to pull over and jump on our bikes to start our journey! Although some of the roads had a bit of traffic, for the most part we saw very few cars because we were on back roads in Lancaster County. We actually saw a bunch of other cyclists and some horse and buggies!