And Now The End is Near- Bash Bish Falls

And so the Hike begins

I started down the well groomed trail. I was looking forward to the falls. Bash Bish Brook was running pretty fast along side the trail.  Its a pretty walk but it wasn’t long before I realized that my definition of flat and the rest of the world seemed to be quite different. There was a subtle but definite incline. It didn’t seem to be getting any smaller. The farther I went the more the trail climbed.

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At the beginning

At first the brook was quite close to the trail. I could imagine setting up the tripod in the middle of the brook and taking pictures from that angle. A few time I ventured off the trail to explore the edge of the brook. At one point I found a swam of yellow and black butterflies. They looked like tiger swallow tails but I couldn’t see and “tails” on any of them.

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Onward and upward

The longer I trudged along the deeper the gorge got and soon I was looking through tree branches to see the brook. At one point I heard voices and laughing. Some folks more agile and fit than I had managed to get down the steep slope and were swimming in the stream. Early on there were benches where you could stop to rest but as the trail took a steeper climb the benches gave way to natural boulders. Its only 3/4 mile but it felt much longer. I was working up a sweat in spite of the breeze off the brook and shade of the forest. On my next break I doused myself liberally with bug spray. No mosquitoes but lots of little black flies and stinging horse flies.

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The Mass-NY State Line

Finally I saw the State line marker. I was told once I passed that I would almost be there. That was the boost I needed. Apparently others felt the same way because as I stood there several other groups  came by and all stopped to take selfies with the sign. Its a mile marker of sorts.

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Sure enough, It wasn’t much further when I saw the trail widen out. A picnic table was positioned off to one side. Then I saw a couple of young women run out of another trail. It was the 1/4 mile long trail from the Massachusetts parking lot. They told me they were very concerned about the return hike.

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Bash Bish Falls.

In the same wide open area there was an observation platform. You got a good look at the falls there. But there was still one more place to check out.

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The Bottom of the Falls

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A series of stone steps led down to the base of the falls. Families were sitting on the rocks, some having a picnic lunch, others taking photos with their cell phone. After a bit of hesitation I made my way down the uneven stairs. I wish I’d had more time to enjoy the falls but too soon it was time to start working my way back. The biggest obstacle was the long stone staircase. But slow and steady finally got me back on top.

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It was just about 2 pm by the time I got back to the parking lot. I needed to get going if I was going to have a chance to visit my mom, the main purpose of this trip!

The Destination isn’t Bad Either-Bash Bish Falls

The Destination isn’t bad either.

After  I left the one lane road behind it wasn’t too far before I reached my destination. I pulled into the parking area at the trail head for Bash Bish Falls and immediately noticed two different trails. One said scenic views, the other Bash Bish Falls. There were quite a few cars. It was obvious this was a popular place.

Oh to be 20 years younger

My first order of business was to check out the scenic area but two steps into the woods and I faced a huge rock. As I contemplated my next move two young ladies came up behind me. The hesitated for about 2 seconds and then as nimbly as a gazelle they were up and over the top. Ouch. That made me feel really old but it was apparent that I was not going to be able to follow them.

Next Stop the Trail Head

That decision made for me, I headed to the sign marked trail head. This time I was faced with a short flight of rustic stairs or walking down a slope next to the stairs. I chose the slope, sort of a poor man’s handicap ramp. I’d just gotten back on the trail when I met a couple huffing and puffing back up. They warned me to be very careful because parts of the trail were not in good shape, muddy and slippery. Plus it was steep and rocky. They didn’t make it all the way down. The gentleman told me this was steep but only 1/4 of a mile. If I wanted a flat trail I should drive down the road a little to the next parking area. That trail is 3/4 mile, a bit longer but  its flat.

Leaving Massachusetts

I chose to take the longer route. Flat was far preferable to huffing and puffing and climbing to get back. Going down might be ok but the return trip was bound to do me in. It wasn’t long until I passed a state line marker. I’d left Massachusetts and entered New York.

The New York Trail Head

Just past the state line marker was the New York Trail Head. They even had an overflow parking lot here, another sign of its popularity. Time to load up my backpack with water, snacks and bug spray. My camera around my neck and trekking pole in my hand I started toward the “Flat” trail where I got my first glimpse of Bash Bish Brook. It was just 12 noon.

 

I Love NY

Meanwhile Back at the countdown of the states…

Yes! New York State, not the city although I have been to New York City several times.

I have to check off New York State because that’s where I grew up. The old homestead is right in the heart of the Adirondacks.

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When I was growing up the town of Bolton was a little place with only one stop light. We joked that there were more bars than churches and for a little town we had a lot of churches, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist.

Our school wasn’t a one room but it was a one building, kindergarten through 12. The size of my class changed a little through the years but most of the folks I graduated with had been in my class from the day I started in kindergarten. Final count of graduates…27.

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I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I moved to Massachusetts as an adult. I grew up in the country and I had a horse. Why would I want to pedal up and down those hills when my horse could do the work?

We also had cows and pigs, sheep and goats and chickens as well as my horse. I learned to feed the animals, groom them and muck out stalls. In the fall we butchered some of the animals and my father, and eventually my brothers, went hunting for deer. We all loved venison. Once Lake George froze over we had lake perch to eat. Ice fishing was popular and to this day yellow perch is a favorite dish.

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We went tubing on the Schroon River before tubing was popular.

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We cut the tall grass in the field…haying we called it….first with teams of draft horses and then later with a tractor. We loaded the hay into wagons with pitchforks.

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We didn’t sit inside watching TV. We went outside to play and roamed the fields and woods using our imaginations to avoid the “Indians” or search for “fairy rings “.

I rode the Ticonderoga and the Mini Ha Ha, cruise ships on beautiful Lake George.

august 063I worked with the photographer for the Sagamore  Hotel where I witnessed elaborate dinners and dance lessons on the portico.

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Eventually I had to grow up (as much as I ever have…I have a strong streak of Peter Pan Syndrome) and headed to Albany, NY to attend college at SUNY Albany. That was at the end of the 60’s and beginning of the 70’s. The “Free Love” Movement and Hippies predominated. Then the Kent State tragedy cast a pall over the riotous college atmosphere and I headed back to the country.

My visits to New York City have been short. It isn’t my favorite place. I’ve been to stage shows on Broadway and stood in Times Square. I’ve been in Grand Central Station and some of the museums but most of the time my trips are quick hits…run in, do what I must, leave.

Heading off to the west I’ve made it to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. I’ve been there twice but it was many years ago. I’d like to go back again.

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Recently I was at a travel show and met a group of travel agents pushing Lake George. I picked up the brochures and by the time I finished reading them I was ready to take my next vacation right back where I grew up.

Glens Falls hosts a Balloon Festival every Fall. I went in 2012.

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Missed it this year but am planning for 2014. I haven’t even touched on all there is to do. New York is a big state. There’s a wine section in the Finger Lakes Region and caves to explore.

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The “I love NY ” slogan is very fitting. If you go, you’ll love it too.

This is what 90 Looks Like

Yesterday was my mother’s 90th birthday. She still lives on her own and goes bowling in a league every week. That’s 10 pin, “big balls”. No little wimpy candle pins or duck pins for her.

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My Mother lives in New York State so I drove up to join the celebration. Her two brothers and their wives, my youngest brother and his wife  and my sister were all there to sing happy birthday. Missing was my other brother and his wife. They live  in Virginia and just couldn’t get away this time but it was still a good turn out.

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For some reason my mother doesn’t want to acknowledge that she’s 90 but I think it’s an awesome milestone.

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Good thing my mother doesn’t go on the internet or she’d be shortening my life for telling and we can’t have that!

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Happy Birthday Mom…and many more 🙂

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2 for 2

Since it’s Sunday I thought I’d take a break from the Alaska story to brag a little bit. While we were in Alaska and unable to obtain a copy of the Boston Sunday Globe, another of my pictures got published. It was the Sunday May 19th issue. The picture appeared in the travel section under the feature called The Sight. That is the 2nd picture they have accepted. I managed to get some back issues so here it is.

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Just had to share the news 🙂 Tomorrow I’ll start telling you about Skagway.