HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE!!! I HAD to get up early to try out the star mode on my new camera – well more specifically the star portrait mode. It takes a photo of someone and then another photo of the stars behind and lays the 2 images on top of each other. Of course I wanted to use JoJo as my model!
I absolutely love petroglyphs (pictures carved into rock – most are so old no one knows what they mean anymore). There are some amazing petroglyphs in Red Rock Canyon and Vally of Fire which I have seen on other trips to the Arizona/Nevada area so when I was planning a trip to Flagstaff I decided to see if there were any close by.
I found the V bar V heritage site which was about 45 minutes away. The area used to be a ranch and in 1994 became part of the Coconino National Forest to preserve the petroglyphs. The site was easy to find – we parked in the lot and headed down to the visitors center to get a parking pass ($5).
After I flew into Las Vegas my BFF Jen picked me up from the airport and we drove to Flagstaff, AZ to spend a few days of sightseeing. On the list of planned activities was hiking Humphreys Peak. We were up before the sun and headed out to the trailhead which was only about a 15 min drive from Flagstaff. The sun was just coming up as we started down the trail at 6am – I was seriously wishing I had some gloves as it was a little chilly, but I knew it would warm up as the day went on.
On the way back from my camping trip to Watkins Glen we stopped off in Centralia, PA – this is a whole town that was evacuated due to a fire that started in the Coal Mine below. The fire has been burning since 1962. Some people didn’t want to leave, but eventually most of them were forced out. I am always surprised at how many people come to see this — well — area of nothing but shrubs, weeds and cemeteries – there was even a person selling hotdogs at a stand on the side of the main road (that’s a new one).
You can wander around the abandoned roads and hope to see smoke that still escapes from the cracks in the pavement and dirt to this day, although to be honest each time I go there, there is less and less smoke visible. We didn’t see any on this hot summer day. I am going to go back in the winter because supposedly you can see it better then so I’ll talk more about the town in that post.
I can not say enough great things about this campground and State Park – I love it here. This trip was not the first and certainly won’t be the last time I will visit. The campsites are large with a picnic table, fire ring and room to park your car. There are flush toilets, warm showers and electric in the bath house.
I brought my friend Cathy with – this was her first camping trip and she LOVED it. We were driving up right after work so I called and told them we would most likely get there late. They told us that wouldn’t be a problem, just to set up when we got there and check in in the morning. We ended up arriving at 9:30 which meant unfortunately it was dark. Setting up the condo (as my tent is lovingly nicknamed) in the dark is a pain – actually setting up the condo in the day time is sort of a pain because it’s so huge and old. As we were putting it together we noticed one of the tent poles was missing the hollow metal end that fits into the peg attached to the tent – bummer! We couldn’t find it anywhere so we ended up rigging that side of the tent up with extra stakes and the ring attached to the tent that the stakes go through and trying to jam the pole in the hard ground – hey it worked – even if it was a bit lop sided!
Watkins Glen State Park is one of my favorite places to visit. The campgrounds are wonderful, bathrooms are clean with flush toilets and running water, and the hiking trails are great. The best trail is called the Gorge Trail and is the one that everyone comes to hike. The trail is carved right into sides of the gorge and goes up over 800 steps over about a mile and a half. It goes over, under and through 19 waterfalls along the way. Although the waterfalls weren’t flowing as much as I have seen in the past, it was still an extremely beautiful place to visit!
After getting rained on at Baxter State Park we decided to head to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. The weather was only slightly better, but we had a hotel instead of a tent! We decided to drive the loop road and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain first. It was so foggy and misty that there were no views at all. There was a camera man at the summit taking videos for the 100th anniversary of the park – watch HERE – you can’t miss me with my bright pink rain jacket – LOL! I’m taking the photo you see below left.
We decided to come back the next day because the weather was supposed to be slightly better. There was really no point in driving the road when you could only see a bit in front of the car because the fog was so thick. We ended up heading to our hotel to shower and then went to grab something to eat. We were pretty tired so we settled into the hotel and hoped for better weather the next day.