Have Heart, Will Travel

Day 12: The Gorge-ous Trail at Watkins Glen

RV destinations, State ParksNancy Powell2 Comments

If Helen of Troy is the face that launched a thousand ships, the internet picture of the waterfall-enchanted-gorge in Watkins Glen is what launched a family of three to Central New York.  I saw a picture and knew I had to see it in person.  So we came and oh, my, did we see. The views and the experience were worth all it took, too; and that was considerable.

For serious hikers, this would be an "easy" trail in that there aren't a lot of difficult or tricky challenges to climb.  Just about 850 stairs. Really.  So, it's not just a walk in the park, even though it is.

I crack myself up.

This hike was the main reason I wanted us to come to this area, so we did it on our first full day here.  We thought the weather was beautiful!  High of 84 degrees was very comfortable for us, although all the New Yorkers were complaining of the heat. Maybe it's not normally that hot here?

The stairs and trail were all in a series of levels, so you got a chance to rest and enjoy the view at one part before moving on to the next.  Around every corner was natural beauty.  We took our time, gave ourselves (okay, me) time to rest, took plenty of pictures and had a grand time.  I'm so glad we did this hike!

For readers who do not know me well, you probably don't know that I have a neuromuscular disease called Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. (If you're really interested, you can read more about it here.) What this disease means for me is that while "on the outside" I look normal to others probably 95% of the time, I often experience varying levels of weakness, right up to and including full body paralysis.  Fortunately, the full paralysis is very, very rare. Like I can count the number of times on my hands.  However, severe and debilitating partial paralysis, like in my legs and/or arms where I can't walk or get out of bed, is a little more frequent.  I feel incredibly blessed, actually, because I know there are many who have my particular "disability" who cannot even lead an independent lifestyle.  My version has been relatively mild, all things considered, and I've enjoyed just about as close to a normal life as possible. In fact, I believe the knowledge of what I almost couldn't do spurs me on to get even more out of life!  There is no guarantee that I would have been able to do these adventures at this point in my life (I was diagnosed at age 6) much less 25 years from now at normal retirement age.  All of this was certainly one factor, though not the biggest one, in deciding to take this journey now.  None of us are promised tomorrow, and I believe I'm more acutely aware of that fact than most.

Which leads us back to a hike with over 850 stairs. Whew. Physical activity is one of the things that brings on muscle weakness and paralysis, but God has been so gracious and I feel like I've been stronger than ever since departing for our Grand Adventure.  I certainly admired every vista without taking anything for granted. 

I hope you enjoy our (mostly Mark's) pictures. If you ever find yourself with the opportunity to make it to central New York, we give this place a hearty thumbs up!

 Thank you, God, for being so creative and letting us enjoy your work!

Thank you, God, for being so creative and letting us enjoy your work!

 We really couldn't have asked for a better day for enjoying such magnificent scenery.

We really couldn't have asked for a better day for enjoying such magnificent scenery.

 I'm so grateful we could all do this together!  This also gives an idea of how the stairs are in levels with plenty to view at each stop.

I'm so grateful we could all do this together!  This also gives an idea of how the stairs are in levels with plenty to view at each stop.

 There really were a lot of people on the trail that day, which makes this gorgeous picture with only Petunia and I going up the stairs, quite a feat.

There really were a lot of people on the trail that day, which makes this gorgeous picture with only Petunia and I going up the stairs, quite a feat.

 On the bridge and another splendid waterfall. God shows off his glory in this place!

On the bridge and another splendid waterfall. God shows off his glory in this place!

 Hi!

Hi!

 "In her eyes"

"In her eyes"

 We'd come quite a ways up by this point. Petunia's gymnastics training was showing because she wanted to cross this log. Ummm...no!

We'd come quite a ways up by this point. Petunia's gymnastics training was showing because she wanted to cross this log. Ummm...no!

 This is one of the few pictures in this whole post (or blog) that I took myself, and it's pretty much just like the shot that compelled me to come visit this place! 

This is one of the few pictures in this whole post (or blog) that I took myself, and it's pretty much just like the shot that compelled me to come visit this place! 

 Underneath one of the waterfalls.

Underneath one of the waterfalls.

 Mark under the same waterfall.

Mark under the same waterfall.

 I wasn't so sure about playing in the water, but they won me over.

I wasn't so sure about playing in the water, but they won me over.

 We did it! No one was as surprised as I was! Or as grateful!

We did it! No one was as surprised as I was! Or as grateful!

 Post-hike? Kicked back and enjoying a book is about the norm.

Post-hike? Kicked back and enjoying a book is about the norm.

We've had a wonderful time here in Watkins Glen State Park and feel so grateful for the gifts of rest and beauty, activity and adventure, and time together!