After one night in Canandaigua, we headed to our final destination of Part 1 of this Odyssey.  But on our way we stopped by Watkins Glen State Park, at the south end of Lake Seneca, one of the Finger Lakes…

We didn’t know quite what to expect, but we were told, and we had read, that it was quite beautiful. The reality is that the park has a gorge with a stream that runs for about 1 1/2 miles, and drops over 400 feet in elevation.   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.

For simplicity we drove to the top of the park, away from the city center. We parked the Villa and looked for the trail head. What we found were about 135 steps, paved in stone, leading down into the gorge. Then the fun began…

I really don’t know what to say about walking down this gorge. The creek has carved out a route through this stone, variously soft and hard, over umpteen thousand years. There are quiet ponds on flat flagstone, and roaring waterfalls over vertical drops. Again, these pictures don’t really do it justice… Every turn of the path revealed another spectacular view of stone, water, bridges, and paths.

The steps at the top of the gorge…

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The quiet ponds…

 

One of the many water falls…

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The path and steps carved into the sides of the canyon…

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Many more water falls…

 

 

And bridges, walkways, and water falls…

 

At the bottom of the gorge the stream runs into Lake Seneca at the town of Watkins Glen…

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Once we were at the bottom, we had to walk back to the top, again. Over 400′ in elevation over about 1 1/2 miles each way. The equivalent of climbing to the top of a 40 story apartment building…

Finally we were back at the top and back to the Villa. We headed out to our final campground of our east-bound journey.

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…