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!
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!