13th October, 2014
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I have to say we were excited about our four day coach tour to Niagara, Toronto and Montreal, so it was no trouble to be out of bed for another early start. Similar to our trip to Boston, as we passed out of New York state and into New Jersey state (the Garden State) the scene was again the autumn colours contrasted with the evergreens – a most beautiful sight that continued for miles – unfortunately most of the photos were taken from the bus, not an ideal setting for such a beautiful continuous scene. As we were passing briefly through the state of Pennsylvania we made a brief stop for a snack, then continued on to Schuyler County and the Watkins Glen State Park.
This is a most beautiful park located outside the village of Watkins Glen, New York, south of Senaca Lake in Schuyler County in the Finger Lakes region. The park’s lower part is near the village, while the upper part is open woodland. It was opened to the public in 1863 and was privately run as a tourist resort until 1906, when it was purchased by New York State. Since 1924, it has been managed by the Finger Lakes Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Jacob’s Ladder, near the upper entrance to the park, has 180 stone steps, part of the 832 total on the trails.
The centerpiece of the park is a 400-foot-deep (120 m) narrow gorge cut through rock by a stream – Glen Creek – that was left hanging when glaciers of the Ice Age deepened the Senaca Valley , increasing the tributary stream gradient to create rapids and waterfalls wherever there were layers of hard rock. The rocks of the area are sedimentry of Devonian age that are part of a dissected plateau that was uplifted with little faulting or distortion. They consist mostly of soft shales, with some layers of harder sandstone and limestone.
The park features three trails – open mid-May to early November – by which one can climb or descend the gorge. The Southern Rim and Indian Trails run along the wooded rim of the gorge, while the Gorge Trail is closest to the stream and runs over, under and along the park’s 19 waterfalls by way of stone bridges and more than 800 stone steps. The trails connect to the Finger Lakes Trail, an 800-mile (1280 km) system of trails throughout New York State state.
It took our party over an hour and a half to descend the Gorge Trail which was a tiring but wonderful experience.
Some of the fabulous waterfalls along the GorgeTrail in Watkins Glen State Park, and the shale rock that has been used to build retaining walls and pathways
The peaceful surroundings of the autumn colours and placid streams ensured a memorable walk
Once back on the bus most of the passengers were asleep within a short time as we continued our journey through the north east of New York state to Buffalo in the Greater Niagara Region. We stopped for an “all you can eat” dinner, then attended a concert by North American Indians, relating their history, and in their native dress. As we neared the border of Canada we were given a quick glimpse of the American Falls that are illuminated at night, then on to the border point where we all had to leave the bus and go through Immigration. A very long day, and we were glad to be able to book in to the hotel and have a good sleep.
The Native American troop (blue lighting) after their performance
Tomorrow morning we are getting up close to the Niagara Falls!