hiking

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Summer Challenge: Canandaigua and Ganondagan

Published August 20, 2014 by Susan Woodward

I have to admit that I delayed writing about this hike, and as I go on, you shall see why. However, I am going to share the beauty of the day as well as the lessons I took with me in the aftermath.

First of all, I had spent the earlier part of the day in the Canandaigua Lake region making pickles at a friend’s house. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so as I was meandering my way home the long way (I tend to avoid the thruway in favor of scenic explorations), I stopped by the lakeshore and then at the Ganandagan Historic site.

There is so much beauty in Upstate/Western New York with the shores of two Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes, and the numerous waterfalls (not to mention Niagara Falls) that I am grateful to have so many choices when I want to take my camera for a ride or a hike!

Canandaigua 2

Canandaigua 3

Canandaigua 4

Canandaigua 5I love the texture of these trees as the draping branches dance on the wind.

Canandaigua 1Looking up, I saw large pine cones. The scent was wonderful.

While making pickles with friends earlier in the day, one of the ladies mentioned the Ganondagan Native American Historic Site, and I promised myself that I would get there one of these days soon. It seems that I was to get there sooner than expected because when I saw signs directing me to the area, my car took on a mind of its own and followed. Good Hyundai!

If you click on the following picture, you can learn more about this historic place in the Finger Lake region.

Ganondagan 1

The beginning of the path seemed so inviting, like a type of portal to another realm. It has been said that fey folk inhabit the forests of Ganondagan, and I was hoping to witness some truth to the legend.

Ganondagan 3 Ganondagan 2

Does this not look like a place where woodland sprites would roam? It so happened that there was going to be a Quest For the Knotties, the sprites believed to inhabit the knots of the trees, that coming Saturday. As it turns out, I was not able to make it on that day, so I decided to have my own little Knottie Quest.

Ganondagan 6

Ganondagan 5

Ganondagan 4

These places look spritely to me! I stepped off the path a few times in order to seek out these Knottie homes, but something I’d only hoped for and not actually expected happened when I returned to the path. Click on the following picture:

Ganondagan 7I happened to look off to my right when I was walking and noticed a single yellow leaf appearing to dangle in mid-air. I watched it dance in the breeze for a minute before going up to it and running my hand over it several times, thinking that it might be attached to a spider web or something.

And it kept dancing.

I shared the video (and it’s not great quality because it was on my phone) with friends, and so many tried to convince me that it was just attached to something and not a supernatural phenomenon. I am not buying that because I checked. No web strings. Nothing. Just a dancing leaf.

Others thought that it was just being carried by the breeze. Okay…but if you look at the video, there are many dried leaves on the ground, so why is only ONE moving like this?

I am certain that this was a visit from a woodland sprite. And based on the events that took place once I exited the woods (remember I said that there was some lesson that I took from this particular experience?), I believe that I was detained to watch for a reason.

When I finally did tear myself away and return to my car, I discovered that someone had smashed the driver’s side window in order to pop the trunk and steal my purse. Given that I was only in the woods a total of 40:51 (see the MapMyWalk link below…thank God I had my phone with me!), it is possible that the purse was stolen during the time that I was spent in fascination with the fey folk.

What if I had happened to return in the middle of the robbery? These folks were bold enough to do it in broad daylight in a place where there were multiple cars. But what if I had come across them face-to-face? Would I have been injured?

I am thankful that I did not have to find out. Because I had my phone, I was able to call 911 immediately, followed by a call to my bank to cancel my debit card. The stuff in my purse was all replaceable (except for the cash), and GEICO was able to help me set up an appointment to have my car fixed first thing in the morning. It made me appreciate that things are replaceable, but I am not.

I am thankful that the spirits of the woods detained me so that I remained safe, and now wiser for the experience.

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 1.16mi, time: 40:51, pace: 35:09min/mi, speed: 1.71mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/694029543

Summer Challenge: Selkirk Shores State Park

Published August 8, 2014 by Susan Woodward

When I began to tell people about how much I was looking forward to getting away in a little cabin in the woods all by myself, a lot of people kept asking about whether or not I would be lonely all alone. Or they expressed concerns for my safety.

I really am okay with being on my own. It’s how I recharge my batteries.

Selkirk Shores State Park 3And so today I plugged into Selkirk Shores.

“Yet I experienced sometimes that the most sweet and tender, the most innocent and encouraging society may be found in any natural object, even for the poor misanthrope and most melancholy man. There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of nature and has his senses still” (Thoreau, “Solitude”, Walden).

In spite of the weather reports claiming that we were going to be in for thunderstorms, the sky was filled with puffy clouds, and the sun beamed down on the waters of Lake Ontario. I hiked along the ridge high above the lake and listened to the waves rolling up against the shore.

While Thoreau’s energy seems to come to him from the Earth…as in the woods and the stillness of the pond…mine comes from moving water. His close relationship with the land allowed him to recognize where he was even in pitch dark.

“It is darker in the woods, even in common nights, than most suppose. I frequently had to look up at the opening between the trees above the path in order to learn my route, and, where there was no cart-path, to feel with my feet the faint track which I had worn, or steer my the known relation of particular trees which I felt with my hands, passing between two pines for instance, not more than eighteen inches apart, in the midst of the woods, invariably, in the darkest night” (Thoreau, “The Village”, Walden).

That is how in tune he was with the Earth, and he found that he was most revived there. Even his rejuvenation in Walden Pond is from much stiller water than what rejuvenates me. I like to seek out creeks,waterfalls, and large lake shores that give the illusion of being at the ocean. Having been brought up among the vast Great Lakes, it is easy to imagine that one is at the ocean, albeit without the salt. The sound of moving water sings to my soul a song more pleasant than any created by a musical instrument. Thoreau’s most treasured songs came to him from the winds in the trees and from the birds and animals in his woods.

I love those songs, too, but it is water that not only soothes, but energizes me.

Selkirk Shores State Park 4

Water Wars

I sat down to watch what seemed to me to be the front lines of an epic battle between the Water Warriors of the Creek and those of the Lake. Where the creek emptied into the lake, the rolling waves seemed to come in to push the creek water back from its invasion. The effect created quite a swirling of forces, battling to claim their place. The clashing of the two stirred up the sand and mud from the bottom, giving the waters an almost reddish hue like the blood spilled on a battlefield. The lake, of course, had the upper hand with its sheer size of reinforcements, and the winds blowing in off it brought in the stronger militia; however, the creek held its own against the mighty lake in the ongoing struggle.

I must admit, it was fun to watch.

I tore myself away from the water and turned toward the inland trails. Once I finally found the beginning of the trails, I was pleased to find that they were adequately marked so that I would not get lost. Then again, I had a Great Lake on one side, smaller Salmon Lake on another, a creek on the third, and then a road on the fourth. I really wasn’t in any danger of getting lost, but I liked the certainty of a marked trail. Sorry, Thoreau!

Selkirk Shores State Park 6 Selkirk Shores State Park 1 Kissing Trees A slice of love

Once again, I was grateful for Deep Woods Off! I do not know how Thoreau managed with the bugs…he’s a stronger person than I am!

All bugs aside, it was a gorgeous walk. And despite the campground seeming to be almost full to capacity, very few ventured onto the trails. I only ran into one couple (several times) as they jogged the trails. Other than that, it was as if I was the only person for miles and miles. Squirrels skittered along the branches overhead, causing a slight shower of acorns at one point. Smiling, I brought home one of those raindrops to remind me of how happy I felt to simply be present at that moment.

A new trail was being cut by the parks department, and a logger must have come across a heart-shaped tree trunk because he left a slice of that trunk propped up against another tree. Seeing it made my own heart swell, as if it was a message from the Woodland Gods that I am loved.   🙂  I even came across two trees that appeared to be kissing!

This is the link that outlines my hike. I did a lot of stopping and starting the app as I paused to take pictures, rest, or simply sit and admire the scenery. However, it is useful to me to record which trails I have hiked.

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 3.95mi, time: 01:31:30, pace: 23:09min/mi, speed: 2.59mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/674403985

The rains did come that day, but not until I was pulling my car alongside my cabin once again. Not the thunder and lightning that had been expected, but a gentle steady rain that also sang to my soul. I spent the evening with a quiet meal and a lovely Harry Dresden novel (I did bring something other than Walden with me…). I’d refreshed myself with the scents of peppermint and lavender in my shower, and luxuriated in the tingle it left on my skin as I read.

It was lovely.

 

Summer Challenge: Sterling Nature Center

Published August 6, 2014 by Susan Woodward

“I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live and could not spare any more time for that one” (Thoreau, “Conclusion”, Walden).

On my fifth day, it was time to pack up and leave the little cabin in the woods.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”

         (Robert Frost, from “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”)

I knew that I had responsibilities awaiting me at home and that as much as I was loving my mini Walden Experiment, it was also time for me to return. At least I did not leave with a heavy heart because a line I’d heard somewhere kept running through my mind: “Do not cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” And so I am smiling.

I took the long way home meandering along Lake Ontario (well, as best as the roads and shoreline would allow… the shore has SO many inlets to it that keeping the lake in view on my right was impossible), and I made one last stop to take a little hike before I had to get home and prepare for an appointment that evening.

For many years, I have driven to Sterling, NY to go to the Renaissance Festival. Every time I drove there, I’d noticed the signs for Sterling Nature Center, but I had never stopped by. Today I did.

Sterling Nature CenterI am sooo glad I stopped! The wooded path took me directly to the lake shore so that she could sing to me a “so long” song till we would meet again.

Sterling ShorelineWhile strolling along the beach, I was surprised at the bluffs that appeared around a bend. At first I thought I must be at Chimney Bluffs, and I had to do a mental calculation of how far along the 104 I had driven for that to be true. Turns out that these are different bluffs, but just as magnificent.

Lakeshore Sterling Nature CenterI sat down to rest and to just listen to the shore-song, all the while thinking about how much I loved the sound and feeling of the breeze. Breathing deeply, I looked out on the water that was dotted here and there with sailboats, and looked up to watch the gulls circle lazily back and forth, almost in rhythm with the boats. I was again filled with gratitude at being able to just be here at this moment. I really did have to pull myself away because I knew that I had “promises to keep.”

heart stoneAs I stood up from the large rock I’d been perched upon, I happened to look down at the rocks that were immediately next to me…and I saw it. It was my final gift for this sojourn- a heart shaped rock that had been worn and shaped by the lake herself.

Refusal to Let GoJust before I turned away from the shore to take the path through the woods to return to my car, I noticed the trunk of an old tree still clinging to the edge of the lake. That is how I felt about my heart; even though the rest of me had to leave this place, my heart belongs to the song of moving water. Whether it is a creek, a waterfall, or the lapping waves of the oceans and lake shores into which I have been privileged enough to dip my toes, that call of the water sings to my soul.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours” (Thoreau, “Conclusion,” Walden).

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 1.28mi, time: 45:45, pace: 35:41min/mi, speed: 1.68mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/678847473

Summer Challenge: Mexico Point Park

Published August 5, 2014 by Susan Woodward

“I walk out into a nature such as the old prophets and poets, Menu, Moses, Homer, Chaucer, walked in. You may name it America, but it is not America; neither Americus Vespueius, nor Columbus, nor the rest were the discoverers of it. There is a truer amount of it in mythology than in any history of America, so called, that I have seen” (Thoreau, Walking).

There is an interesting fact about New York State.  Did you know that while driving along the Thruway and the myriad expressways ending in “90”, you will come across exits for places like Troy, Ithaca (ask my students about those two and the New York Odyssey project we do!), Liverpool, Greece, Rome, or even Mexico, just to name a few? It’s as if I need a passport at the thruway exits…and how fun it would be to get my passport stamped at each place. It’s like going around the world without crossing a state line. I do have to say, though, that Las Vegas has us beat with being able to ride a Venetian gondola, nibble on fromage by the Eiffel Tower, and check out the missing chunk on the Sphinx’s nose all along one strip, but that will be another trip!

Today, I went to Mexico. No, not the country, the town in New York. Ironically, there is a hamlet WITHIN the town called Texas! Fortunately, I had no trouble with border crossings.

No matter where we go nor what a place is called by those who inhabit it, the place is ultimately Earth. No black lines can be seen from a plane or form space that divies up this planet, yet much violence and hatred is spewed over these imaginary lines. As inhabitants of this planet, we should be more united in our experience here than we are. This makes me think of Man’s dominion referred to in “To a Mouse,” the Robert Burns poem that I use when beginning to read Of Mice and Men with my students:

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
          Wi’ bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
          Wi’ murd’ring pattle!
I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
          Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
          An’ fellow-mortal!
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
          ’S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
          An’ never miss ’t!
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
          O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
          Baith snell an’ keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
          Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
          Out thro’ thy cell.
That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
          But house or hald,
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
          An’ cranreuch cauld!
But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
          Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
          For promis’d joy!
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
          On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
          I guess an’ fear!
And so on to the beauty of the Earth…

Mexico Point Park 1

I must say, this was a beautiful park. There was the ruins of what looked like an old church, but which turned out to be what once was an inn. Oddly, it’s called Casey’s Cottage…at least that is what the sign says.

Another interesting thing was the plethora of carved statues all around the perimeter of the park proper.

Mexico Point Park StatuesThese are just a few of the many statues around the park. They depict famous people (like the Native American and the boxer, both of whose names I forgot to write down) or set the tone for a specific aspect of the park (hospitality, swimming, and fishing).

Casey's CabinWhen I first came across this building, it looked like an old church because of the shape of the stained glass windows. According to the website, it’s an old inn. I loved the style of the door here…

Casey's Cottageand check out the ornamentation around the windows. It looks like draped valences! I also do not remember if it is Casey’s Cottage or Cabin, so I shall refer to both…I have a 50% chance that one of them is correct!

Woodland BasiliskI saw this and immediately felt like I was in the presence of the powerful Woodland Basilisk, distant American immigrant cousin to Harry Potter’s foe in the Chamber of Secrets.

Mexico Pt Park 2

Beauty and the BeachThis lovely was growing out of the sand among a bunch of rocks… and the color stood out.

Mexico Point Shoreline

Mexico Pt Shoreline

Mexico Point MonumentI shall have to do some research on Ancestry.com to find out whether or not Silas Towne is related to the Medina, NY Townes. If so, then I have a relative who was a Revolutionary War hero!

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 1.18mi, time: 56:03, pace: 47:25min/mi, speed: 1.27mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/677102767

Mexico Point Park was just the first stop today….

Summer Challenge: Seneca Park Zoo Cascade

Published July 17, 2014 by Susan Woodward

Seneca Zoo Cascade“My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years I have walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days together, I have not yet exhausted them” (Henry David Thoreau, Walking).

Part of my summer challenge of “building my own damn house” has been to find local places of beauty to appreciate. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to find what seemed like an out-of-the-way hiking path smack dab in the middle of the city of Rochester! I knew that the Zoo was in the city, but the amount of land and hiking trails within Seneca Park was a shock.

The AllTrails app on my phone has been great for finding nuggets of treasure that I didn’t know were there so that I may better appreciate my own “house” or Upstate New York.

Last summer my challenge took me out of state and to both oceans. This summer I am concentrating on things closer to home. As Thoreau stated that there are many places to walk in our own vicinity, I am looking around Upstate NY for places to do my walking.

Another app that I like on my phone is MapMyWalk. With it, I can track the places I visit, and it will provide me with more information than I ever thought I could know about my hike! It also allows me to send a post right to my blog:

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 3.00mi, time: 01:09:47, pace: 23:17min/mi, speed: 2.58mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/650877871

Boardwalk

A Boardwalk out to the Genesee River

Broken Shells

Those white things on the ground are broken sea shells…and they were all over this part of the trail. It is quite a distance up from the river, as you can see through the trees, and I wondered how they all got up here. Perhaps seagulls had their own version of a clam bake!

Fairy's House

I am thankful that I happened to be looking down at the point I came by this Fairy’s house.

Genesee River 2

The Genesee River

Genesee River

The Genesee River at the base of the falls.

Zoo Falls

 

Summer Challenge: Build Your Own Damn House!

Published July 13, 2014 by Susan Woodward

At the beginning of summer, Rev. Kaaren told us a story about toast. And coffee. And coconuts. And she challenged us to “build your own damn house!”

toast-3The story of Giulietta Carrelli, a woman who found comfort in cinnamon toast, energy/speed/communication in coffee, and survival in coconuts can be found if you click on the picture. It is the story involving a restaurant that offers only those items. And if you get the whole shebang, that order is called “Build Your Own Damn House.” Please do read the article to get the full impact of Giulietta’s story.

I remember my mom making us cinnamon toast when I was a kid. I had forgotten all about the treat until Kaaren brought the memory to the forefront with this tale. I remembered how Mom would butter the hot toast and while it was still warm, sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the melted butter, and how it would almost caramelize just before taking the tiniest bites so as to savor its flavor and make the toast last. I can’t believe I’d forgotten how I had made that for my own children, but then stopped for some reason. Memories of cinnamon toast brought back sensations of satisfaction and comfort from my childhood, and I wanted to live them again. Many times I forget about the simple things that made me feel so good when I was younger. The busyness of adult life has a tendency to not leave much room for childhood simplicities.

While thinking about (and making) cinnamon toast for myself at home, I thought about other simple things that my Mom made when I was a kid and that I’d thought of as “comfort food”: shells and butter with garlic salt, tuna and egg salad sandwiches (yes, mixed), cucumbers and sour cream, jello with milk poured over it… these are memories that go beyond filling a stomach with inexpensive ingredients. I can taste and smell every one of them, and I vowed that I was going to allow these simple pleasures back into my life, these forgotten memories.

I can see how Giulietta Carrelli got the idea of offering cinnamon toast as a way of awakening simple, comfort-laden memories, and why so many people flock to her establishment to get a dose of this for themselves.

Included on the menu is a good cup of coffee. It warms the insides as well as offering an energetic kick. While the toast brings on nostalgia, the coffee gives energy to act on those activities that nurture me. The toast reminds me of the comfort of simple foods, and the coffee fuels me to partake in simple activities to rejuvenate my spirit. To Carrelli, coffee also symbolizes communication. How often when we decide to meet up with someone, it tends to be over coffee? When guests come to our home, isn’t it true that we most often offer coffee as a beverage? It make sense to see coffee as a symbol of communication.

Coconut is also on her menu as a symbol of survival. Since I started doing walking/running races, I have heard the praises of coconut water for hydration (along with the mighty chia). I even heard stories of how soldiers injured in the South Pacific during WWII had been kept alive through IV’s connected to green coconuts when IV fluid packs were not available. While coconut does not stir nostalgic memories in me, I certainly can relate to survival. Looking back, I see many times in my life when things were terribly difficult and how I managed to survive them. These remind me of how strong I have become over the years, and how the life I enjoy today is because of the struggles of yesterday. That alone makes me feel a sense of gratitude to be able to enjoy the simple pleasures that make life worth living…what I survived for.

Those things together…comfort, speed, communication, and survival…are all I need to build my own damn house, my own spiritual temple within.

How perfectly wonderful for a summer challenge, especially after ending a rather stress-filled school year. After being told that I would be teaching two new preps next year (English 10 and 11), I had been fretting about spending the entire rejuvenation time writing lesson plans. However, when gathering ideas for English 11, I went to the Transcendentalists to open the school year. I selected Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self Reliance” to kick things off, followed by excerpts from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.  Beginning my summer reading with these pieces fit perfectly into the challenge offered by Rev. Kaaren…how to build my own damn house.

The first step was to actually make some cinnamon toast! I savored the taste and took the tiny bites like I’d done when I was little. I sipped a hot cup of good coffee in the process (my personal favorite is Ethiopian Harrar). To be truthful, I had to pause while writing this to go make some cinnamon toast and coffee.  🙂 But the first time I made the treat earlier this week, I munched on it while reading Walden to prepare some lesson plans. During my reading, I began to feel a bit restless to partake in the simple act of walking in Nature. After finishing my breakfast, I got out my hiking boots, grabbed a container of coconut water (I stocked up as part of the toast/coffee/coconut symbols), and shoved Thoreau’s book into my back pocket as I headed out to Durand Eastman Park.

Durand LakeThe link below is to my Map My Walk ap that I use on my phone to keep track of my excursions.

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 2.78mi, time: 01:01:48, pace: 22:13min/mi, speed: 2.70mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/642687573

The hike around Durand Lakes’ sister, Eastman Lake, reminded me of the visit to Walden Pond I’d made with my daughter, Robin, years ago. Those memories, like the cinnamon toast in my belly, reminded me of times filled with the simplicity of being in Nature. I smiled as I remembered the frog she caught on our walk around Walden Pond, and how she laughingly kissed it in the hope of it turning into her prince. Those memories were made even more special on this particular hike because I had just witnessed the birth of Robin and her husband Sean’s daughter earlier in the week.

Durand Park Hippogriff Pond Uprooted Tree

After finishing my hike, I got my folding chair out of the trunk and found an appropriate spot along Durand Lake to read:

Walden

And so my challenge begins. I even booked a cabin in the woods for four nights in August! And, like Thoreau, I bartered for the price. I will be in a tiny, one room cabin, and in exchange for the fourth night, I shall do some copy-editing for the owner’s online advertisement!

I look forward to spending the summer finding more ways to Build MY Own Damn House!

Following My Bliss: Chimney Bluffs

Published August 12, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Again I woke up with a hankering for a hike!  It was a gorgeous day, so I decided that soaking up some sun along Lake Ontario was just the ticket!

But first I had to get there.

I’d taken my kids to the Bluffs a long time ago, and I basically remember how to get there.  I mean, it’s on the lake, so how can you miss it, right?  Well, one cannot just drive long the coast of Lake Ontario.  There are too many bays and inlets and not enough “straight” coastline roads.  The key is to know when to go north off route 104.

According to the internet (which I checked before leaving because I’d not been able to find the place the last two times I went out there), I was supposed to go along 104 E until I came to County Road 254, then turn left and go to the Lake.  That sounds easy, right?  Ha!  It would have been if there had been a SIGN that marked County Road 254!!  I was nearly at Oswego before I had to pull out the old GPS to have it tell me to backtrack for a good half hour!  And get this…the road is marked Route 414, not 254.  The GPS called it 254.  The internet called it 254.  The folks who made the signs call it 414.

That is a real 315-er.

But at least I finally made it! Bluffs 6

The sun was hot, so I decided to begin my trek along the coastline, and then make my way back along the top of the bluffs.

The water was much warmer than I expected.  The lake is usually pretty cold, even at this time of year.  It felt good to have the waves sloshing up over my feet as I walked along.

Bluffs 7

This was the view of the bluffs from where I entered the beach and began my hike.  They seem a long way off…it was about a mile to get to them.

Bluffs 8

I saw a lot of interesting driftwood along the way.

Bluffs 9

Some spots was just a little TOO much driftwood for my taste.  It made the going a little tougher.

Bluffs 10I am finally getting closer to the bluffs…

Let me tell you, I am going to have to bronze these $5.00 water shoes I bought this summer!  They have been on all my hikes, especially those involving creeks, lakes, and oceans!  I have two more big treks before I go back to work and they have to last.  I plan to hit Watkins Glen and San Diego in the next two weeks, so stay tuned!

Here are a few good shots of the bluffs from the beach:

Bluffs 4 Bluffs 3 Bluffs 2 Bluffs 1

The terrain certainly looks different from yesterday’s walk!

This is my attempt at being “artsy” before hauling myself up to the top of the bluffs to hike along the edge:

Bluffs 11I shot this through a fallen tree (complete with me laying on the rocks to get the bluffs through the “window”).  You can see the richness of the color of the rocks…all the reds and blues.

Bluffs 5And this was from along the top of the ridge.

I certainly have been enjoying Following My Bliss this summer…I wish it didn’t have to end in order to go back to work!  But I have had the opportunity to recharge my batteries (and it’s not like I haven’t been working in the summer…I just didn’t write about that…).  Along with continuing with my exercise routines, I have worked hard on my fitness.  I feel MUCH stronger than I have in…well, since I can’t remember!  No smoking, eating healthier, working out, and cardio via hiking!  All that with some gorgeous scenery and awesome memories that I DID IT!

Yippee!  😀

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