Posts Tagged With: New York State

Maine or Bust 2022: Greetings From The North Pole

From the Wilmington/North Pole KOA Campground that is. Love this oversized campsite about 10 miles northeast of Lake Placid in New York State.

This might be the largest campsite we’ve ever had.

Less than 2 miles down the road a collection of hiking trails known as the Flume Trails branch off above a narrow channel where the Ausable River roars through. We chose the Flume Knob trail, a 3.1 out and back trail with nearly 1,200 feet of elevation gain leading to a 180° view. How hard could it be?

It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to quit a trail as badly as I wanted to give up on this one. Impatient with the heat, humidity and swarming bugs, I struggled uphill behind Reg who kept calling back to me, “We’re almost there!” And then, finally we were. The view was every bit as good as promised. I snapped the photo of Reg as he carefully made his way back down off the knob. Fortunately, it wasn’t as scary as it looks.

Reg looks up at Whiteface Mountain, New York’s fifth-highest peak.

The following day we debated the pros and cons and finally decided to drive up the Whiteface Mountain Highway. We thought it strange that visitors must pay a hefty fee to drive the scenic highway. It’s a short 5-mile drive that snakes up 2300 feet and offers ”grand vistas of Adirondack Park” and “panoramic views that stretch from Canada to New Hampshire.” Watching the sky, we were skeptical that the weather would allow us such expansive vistas.

From the parking lot at the top, guests can opt for an elevator ride to the summit. We chose to walk by way of what was named the Alpine Nature Trail, an odd name for the walk across a rocky mountain spine. While we were able to enjoy misty views (the bottom left photo shows a bit of Lake Placid, home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics) the stretch from Canada to New Hampshire was a no-show.
Click here to learn more about the drive up Whiteface Mountain.

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Maine or Bust 2022: The Invisible Border

The Canadian border stretches invisibly through the St. Lawrence River just off the northern shores of Wellesley Island State Park in New York, our next stop where we had three full days to explore. Our approach to the park was from the south, via Interstate 81, crossing from mainland New York over the U.S. portion of the St. Lawrence and then quickly exiting onto the state park roads.

We were in the F-loop, the only loop with full hookups. It also has large, sunny sites.

Rain was predicted for our first day so we took advantage of the dry morning to check out the camping area. There are six different camping loops throughout the park and 431 sites. We leisurely wandered up, down and all around, surprised to see that nearly all were empty. It took us nearly two hours.

Rain clouds began to gather as the storm moved in.

The Minna Anthony Common Nature Center sits on a finger of the island and is the hub for multiple color-coded day hikes. We chose the coastal River Trail (green) which wrapped all the way around the point and eventually connected to the East Trail, eventually leading us back to the nature center and the end of a five-mile hike.

The Thousand Island Park community on Wellesley Island was founded in 1875 as a Methodist campground. As the infrastructure developed, the area quickly grew into a summer resort. By the end of the 18th century nearly 600 cottages had been built. In 1982 Thousand Island Park was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. I‘m a sucker for big old Victorian houses, so we rode our bikes the five short miles to check out the neighborhood.

I couldn’t resist taking a short bit of very amateur video to show you a portion of Thousand Island Park.

Today there are about 40% fewer cottages than there were at the peak, but those that remain surely have stories to tell. Many have been beautifully restored while others await some TLC. Many appeared still closed up, awaiting the short summer season.

The link takes you through the fascinating history of Thousand Island Park.

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Maine or Bust 2022: Too Close To Resist

American Falls spills into the Niagara River.

We had one more day to explore western New York and, wanting to beat the crowds, Reg got me out of bed at 5:15 a.m. At such an early hour it felt like a long drive for a day trip, but our destination was too close to ignore. We were soon winding our way along two lane roads, driving toward one of America’s iconic landmarks.

We had a beautiful, warm day and Niagara Falls State Park was surprisingly uncrowded. We had no trouble securing tickets for the Maid of the Mist, the boat that would take us to the bottom of the falls. The U.S./Canadian border splits the Niagara River and as we set sail in our American blue waterproof ponchos, we waved to our Canadian neighbors returning to port, decked out in their country’s red plastic ponchos.

It was a wild ride, but definitely the best way to get a feel for the magnitude of the three falls and the power of the water. Not the best photo conditions, but I did my best to snap a few as Reg hung on; one hand gripping the railing and one gripping me!

Due to the mist and spray, Horseshoe Falls (large photo above) is difficult to see from above. I managed to get one shot from below before deciding that my camera had taken on as much water as I dared allow and quickly stuffed it inside my poncho.

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