A Gorge-ous Adventure: Part Three Best Laid Plans

So fellow travelers,  it is almost time to hit the trails of Robert Treman State Park.

The next morning my trusted weather radio chirped bright and early,  alerting me to a “slow moving front, descending across the Great Lakes.”    RTSP is about 80 miles as the crow files from the southern shores of Lake Ontario.  There’s good reason SUNY’s Meteorology program is located at the Oswego campus and  boosts  reknown alumni like Al Roker.  ( Jerry Seinfeld is also a SUNY Oswego alumnus; yes classmates, no they didn’t hang out together. )  One can watch storms form out of apparent thin air and roll onshore with impressive speed and force.  Camping by Lake Ontario ( Southwick State Park is my other must-camp pick) has honed my interpretive skills in deciphering NOAA weather reports. (Sometimes I think I missed my calling, but back in my college years women were “weather girls,” not meteorologists.)

Sitting by the embers of last nights fire, watching steam rise from both my breath and my coffee I listened intently to the forecast and did some calculations.  The two trails which run along the gorge in RTSP are about a  5 mile round trip hike.  On flat ground that would take me just under two hours.  However, the Rim and Gorge trails are two of the three trails ranked most difficult in the NYState Park system, outside the High Peaks of the Adirondacks.  Oh the third most difficult trail?  Buttermilk Falls, located three miles up the road back to Ithaca.   No matter how you hike them, the Rim and Gorge trails require extra time.  In fact many park visitors drive up the paved road to Enfield Glenn and walk the short half mile down to see Lucifer Falls which is the main attraction of the Gorge Trail.

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Enfield Glenn, runner up wedding site ( the pavilion was too small)

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Lucifer Falls (to get a sense of scale, look closely for the people standing just to the right where the falls start )

My usual routine is hiking up the less picturesque Rim Trail, which provides good birding spots spaced at just the right intervals for catching one’s breath.  Towards the upper end of the trail there are several points where you can access the river, perfect spots for trail snacks and cooling off.  Since the Rim Trail is less popular,  I find I am more likely to have these spots to myself.  Refreshed I would then hike a few minutes up to the bridge which crosses over to the Gorge Trail.  From there is it about a quarter mile up to Lucifer Falls and currently the only way to reach the falls as a notice at the camp office indicated the upper portion of the trail was closed for repairs.  Traveling  the Gorge Trail provides more photo ops and river access points which is why I like to make it my return route. It makes for a more leisurely hike, a reward for the effort of mastering the Rim Trail.

Taking potential rain into account, it definitely made more sense to hike the Rim Trail up and the Gorge Trail back down.  The Rim Trail is mostly dirt, lots of tree roots cross the path; it becomes a slippery muddy mess in heavy rains.  The Gorge Trail is better groomed with long sections of stone paths and good solid stairs.  Anyway, the line of storms was forecast to arrive mid to late afternoon and my plan was to be back at camp by then.

Mother Nature it turned out had other plans.

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to be continued…..

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

On a Gorge-ous Adventure : Part Two Calm Before the Storm

So fellow travelers,  we return to the shores of Cayuga Lake on the way to beautiful Robert Treman State Park.

It took two repair calls to get the camper on the road, the first crew having arrived without the necessary tools.  Who shows up on a roadside assistance call without jacks or tire irons? No matter, the second crew not only put the spare tire on the camper, they offered to take the rim with the blown tire to their shop, get a new tire mounted, bring it out to my campsite  and put it on the camper so I don’t have to drive all the way home on the spare.  I pay for the new tire with  labor costs covered by my Triple A membership.  Yes, on second thought, how grateful am I that first team showed up unprepared.

A photo from the gardens by the parking lot I took while waiting….

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Back on the road two hours later, I arrive at the campgrounds. My friends are thrilled to have me safely on site, Sammy is relieved the dog treats are intact after the tire incident.

 Robert Treman State Park  features a swimming hole at the base of a waterfall and two steep but spectacular trails along a gorge which lead to another waterfall.   Gorges and waterfalls are two elements which draw me back to Ithaca.  Greenstar Co-op and the bountiful, diverse farmers market add to the appeal. Both are well managed sources for delicious, locally produced, organic foods.  Fortunately the weekday summer market was still operating so after a few days of relaxing at camp we headed into town to stock up.

 Sammy worked the crowd at Dewitt Park while we took turns shopping and getting lunch from various vendors. It always does my heart good to watch “Sammers” out in public.  He was my first foster from the rescue (I can’t count Delilah, since we adopted her within a few weeks of bringing her home.)  Sam loves everyone, especially kids. He’s a big guy but well behaved and gentle. Lisa and Mark are always complimented on his excellent training.  They smile and simply acknowledge Sam’s just a one-of-a-kind dog. ( His story deserves it’s own blog entry.)

I talked my friends into making a side trip to see Ithaca Falls.  It has a short, relatively flat access trail and is one of my daughter and son-in-law’s favorite spots.  In fact they had their post wedding breakfast with friends and the wedding party right there.

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Ithaca Falls and the kids post wedding brunch.

That evening was a downright, unseasonably cold in the  50’s  headed to a low in the 40’s.  Mark is a master at campfires and he built us a good roaring one.  I kicked up some corn chowder I had made with smoked sausage, apple smoked bacon and a heaping pile of toasted cheesebread.  Mind you this is not bread with cheese melted on it, this is bread with the cheese baked right into it. Wow, un huh, I know and it is perfectly legal to buy and consume at will. Which we did along with much heartfelt campfire talk of dogs, family, dogs, the state of the world, good wines and dogs.  Good news too had come via voicemail, as my repair team reported a new tire had been located (it is not easy to replace tires on a vintage 84 Chevy RV) and would be mounted, balanced an ready to install tomorrow.

Life was good. I took it all in perhaps sensing the calm before a storm.

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to be continued….

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

 

 

 

On a Gorge-ous Adventure Part one

So fellow travelers, looking down the barrel of time at the end of summer I realized I had yet to make my seasonal pilgrimage to my favorite NY State park.  So when my favorite camping buddy Sammy told me Mom and Dad would be camping at Robert Treman for a few days and asked would I come because I bring the best dog treats, I stocked the cooler,  topped off the camper’s gas tank and hit the road without hesitation.

Sammy, former foster now adopted companion to my best friends Lisa and Mark.  How can anyone say “No” to that face?

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It was a beautiful day for a drive through Upstate New York.  I decided on my way through Ithaca, I would make a quick stop at Stewart Park, where my daughter and son-in-law were married.  Its a spot that never fails to bring me tremendous peace and joy. I hoped to make it into town in time include a little shopping at the fabulous farmer’s market at Steamboat Landing. However coming into town on Route 13 the camper had a Major   Tire   Blowout.

Suddenly I am headed down a MASSIVE hill at 45 MPH barely able to steer. The camper is vibrating so violently, cabinet latches start popping, spilling contents across the table and floor, which was the least of my concerns.  There was no way I would be safe pulling over on the tiny shoulder with the amount of traffic barreling down the hill. I know I have to make it to the bottom where I can pull off into Stewart Park.  I pop the transmission into neutral, because somewhere in my brain it seems like the right thing to do. I brake just enough to slow down to a manageable coasting speed. Crying, praying all the way down “I just need to make it to the turn off,  please just let me make it to the turn off,”  I catch a glimpse of the first sign for the park. Radial tire pieces begin flying up and hitting the camper.  I can feel I am now driving just on a tire rim, but the turn off is just ahead. I throw the camper back in low gear, ease through the turn and shudder into the empty parking lot behind the visitors center. For moments like this I have Triple A with RV plus.  As I dial the 800 emergency road service number I realize I am shaking so much I can hardly hold my phone. I needed a moment to refocus.  So I stopped, got out and took in the view.  The first thing I saw was

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then I turned around and saw

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Instantly the awareness of “everything is going to be alright” which permeated the storm tossed wedding preparations nearly two years ago filled my consciousness.  I felt my body stop shaking.  I breathed and stood quietly taking in the magic of sunlight and sailboats on the lake.  Everything little thing, will be alright….or would it?

(to be continued)

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready

Time Thief

So fellow travelers, my great hiking adventure post is in edit mode, meanwhile family matters of a somewhat volatile nature blew in and stole away my writing time.  Family first and anyways this storm would not be ignored.  Its emotions raged on par with the flood waters that threatened to wash out the trails we were on a few days ago.  I woke this morning with this Haiku response.

 

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The hands of the clock

race wildly forward pushed by

angry words time lost

 

Photo note:  This creative and amusing clock was one of many whimsical creations I found last month at  Portland’s Saturday Market.

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Buddha Rock

So fellow travelers, I have just returned from several days of camping in a favorite spot.  It proved to be exciting in an unexpected way. Details to follow soon.  For now I leave you to contemplate The Buddha Rock

 

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The Buddha rock sits

it gathers no moss for soon

storms waters will come.

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

 

Milkshakes in Heaven

So fellow travelers,  our Bedlam Family had to say goodbye to someone we loved as one of our own.

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Dorothy moved from earthly body to heavenly spirit yesterday morning.  We will miss this vibrant woman who had become our “group Mom,” through the wonderful writing of her daughter Denise Gainey.

Denise put love in it’s most vulnerable form right on the page in words and pictures for everyone to experience, secure in the knowledge our safe haven would protect the precious gift she brought us. We may have bolstered her courage to write but she gave us the courage to love in the face of death.

The power of Dorothy’s story comes from the honesty with which Denise wrote.  As we read her posts, we “felt like a friend watching from the back of the room,” as one member aptly described. Whether it was a story about missing dentures or a moment of soul searching questions about heaven vs hell, Denise brought Dorothy from the page right into our hearts where she will continue to live on. The tributes fellow members have been  sharing make that clear.

Those tributes have none of the “I’m sorry for your loss,” comments which usually fill a Facebook wall post about the death of a loved one.  Instead, the comments  are full of  genuine empathy and gratitude for the gift Denise has given in sharing her Mom so honestly with us. This is a significant difference.  It shows an awareness of true connection rare on social media. It has changed my life, in a way I was not fully aware of until a recent pilgrimage I made with my own Dad.

Denise and Dorothy’s journey through the dark shadows of life’s end and the grace with which they faced the inevitable ending created waves of  healing which blessed us all, sometimes in unexpected ways (Kathy Suszczewicz’s blog entry is a powerful example.) Many reached out to reconnect or simply made time to do more with their parents.  In this way Denise has, as another member wrote, “made us all better people for the love and devotion (she) showed in (her) thoughts, words and most importantly, actions.”

While death brings heartache, there is no greater way to honor someone than to live with the joy they brought to life. Denise and her family have chosen to hold a celebration party for Dorothy’s friends and fellow residents at the senior apartments where she lived. There will be cake and music and stories and perhaps a round of Dorothy’s favorite chocolate milkshakes.  Nothing brought a smile to Dorothy’s face like the sight of her “Neese” walking through the door of her apartment, chocolate shake in hand.

 I have a feeling Heaven has a new favorite snack.  Milkshakes all around, bless you Dorothy.

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

In the Garden

So fellow travelers, this journey we call life  sometimes takes us to a passage difficult to navigate. One of my Bedlam Farm friends Denise Gainey, has been journaling about just such a time.  Her writing is powerfully honest, without the slightest hint of self pity.  I have learned valuable lessons from her experience.  They are lessons I will carry with me as my parents and mother-in-law move closer to the inevitable crossroads Denise writes about.  I dedicate today’s haiku to two beautiful women holding fast through the waves of time.

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Flowers on the path
Love blossoms along the way
Easing journeys end

 

Denise’s beautiful blog can be found at The View From Here.  The photo was taken at a park in Corvalis Oregon.

Scars

So fellow travelers, today brings a haiku prompted by a post from my good friend and talented author Jennifer Bowman. Jennifer recently  published an ebook called Finding the Trail Head   available on Amazon.  Read it and follow her blog.  Your life will be greatly enriched.

 

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Scars  marks of lives lived

well or no we survive to

live and love again

 

Photo note:  a random was? might have been? or would be ? trail marker I spotted on a tree in Mt Tabor Park, Portland.

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

 

 

Morning Dew

Good morning fellow travelers.  A gift from an early morning walk.  May peace shine in your hearts this day.

 

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Shining field of grass

Glistening sunlit diamonds

Late summer gift

 

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Brave New World

So fellow travelers,  I woke this morning to find myself part of a brave new world.

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The Chairman and admins of the Bedlam Farm creative page have started the process of migrating to a new format now known as the Creative Group at Bedlam Farm.  The page will be open for public viewing on Facebook, so the world can see our “good stuff.”  That’s the “brave” I refer to in my opening. Only members can post or comment, so the guidelines prohibiting negativity will remain enforceable.  Those guidelines are the safety net which makes the unique atmosphere of our creative community possible.  First time writers know their work will be encouraged, new photographers will have those first shots appropriately critiqued and artists working on other media can share their creations with confidence.

As in nature, not everyone will make the mass migration. There are many silent members who have not contributed even minimal comments of encouragement or appreciation taking up space eager creative applicants could have. Some are not comfortable with the public viewing their work.  I can relate to the personal pain caused by visceral responses to something I posted on Facebook. I stopped sharing Jon Katz blog posts about the carriage horses on my own wall because I could not keep up with ignorant commentary it generated.  I readily accept dissent and disagreement.  I cannot tolerate stupidity and I choose not to perpetuate it with anything on my wall.

So here we are, awake in a brave new world, one quite unlike the ominous Utopian novel of the same name. Huxley’s trilogy came into my readers view at the impressionable age of thirteen and  I have never completely shaken off the skepticism of Organized Anything. Still, here I am, grateful to be a part of an online safe haven for creative spirits.

Photo note:  The image above was taken at Elowah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.  There I am, a small bright speck in a massive valley of mystic beauty, trying to figure out how to capture what I see and feel.  My daughter, did it with her simple camera phone.

Walk gently on the path, my friends and may adventure find you ready.