Tag Archives: scenery

A Walk in the Park in Kentucky, Part 2

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Day 2 of our trip to Red River Gorge was a bit less hiking, but even more to see. When we turned into the park, on day 1, we went right. On day 2 we went left.

The first thing we found was a tunnel in the mountain. Nada Tunnel. IMG_8929

The tunnel used to be a railroad tunnel. It is now a 900 foot, single lane, passage through the mountain for cars.

We came out the other side, to this.

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Pretty much, through out this whole portion of the drive, the road looks like this. It is beautiful, though I wish we had been able to go a couple weeks later to watch those leaves change!

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One thing I found interesting here was that we crossed a lot of bridges. Everyone was very different.

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That last bridge is called the Sky Bridge. It is a natural stone arch, that crosses over another path. The hike is easy, though you will want to be careful walking across the bridge, as you can see, there are no walls. And, the edges are worn down, so the very center is high and flat, and the close you get to the edge, the more sloped the rock becomes.

I found this little guy on our hike.

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I think this may be one of my best pictures!

On the route to the Sky Bridge hike, you will also find a sign that read’s “Devil’s Canyon Overlook” This is the view.

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Now, if you are anything like me, you will decide that standing by the fence is not good enough, and you will walk down a little side path, with no fence.  And the side path will lead you down here.

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Can you see, under that one pine tree, the bright green moss on the edge of the rock? If you are anything like me, you will decide you MUST sit there to get a picture. If you are married to anyone like my husband, you will keep inching over there while he shouts “Get back here!” I made it, and sat on that ledge, and enjoyed every second of my view, while my husband had a panic attack. (Ok, not really, but he was not happy with me and was very tempted to pick me up and move me back about 4 feet.) I took this picture though.

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Those are huge, fully grown trees under my feet.

We eventually had to make our way out of the park. Remember how I said it stormed on day one? This was how a good portion of the roads looked on day 2.

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Next, I’m working on the basic info post. Soon I will have posts from the Las Vegas trip we just got back from as well.

History Comes Alive in Boston

I homeschool the kids, which I’ve mentioned before. Last week we learned about the Revolutionary War for history. Several months ago I took a trip to Boston, I knew I was standing in spots that held historic significance, but, I’m also 13 years out from my last history lesson. So, to read them this information, and know I had stood there just months before was so cool.

I love Boston. We stayed in a small town outside of Boston. I think it was about a 45 minute drive, or train ride into the city. Brad and I shared one car, so, he drove to work, while I took the train into the city. The first day, I decided to take the train, so he dropped me off at the station. I was concerned because this was a 730a train. Brad wouldn’t get off work until 5p, so if I got bored and wanted to come back to the hotel, I was out of luck. I’d have to bring the train home, then walk about 3 miles back to the room.

I didn’t need to worry, I had all day in Boston. I walked 11 miles. I was not bored.

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This is the train station. I got off the train and had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I like to wander, so I walked a couple blocks, through the Financial District. Then, I came out into a very crowded area, where a red line is painted on the sidewalk, in front of a very old building. This red line is the Freedom Trail, it is 2.5 miles that will take you through 16 different historic sights. I felt like, every time I turned one way to see something, I missed 3 other interesting sights the other way.

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This is the Old State House, this is where the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston for the first time. This was also the site where the Boston Massacre happened. John Adams declared the Revolution began here. This is Boston’s oldest public building, built in 1713. I used this all week to figure out where I was.

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This is the Old South Meeting House. You walk in, and walk where George Washington one stood. Where the colonists prepared for the Boston Tea Party. It was built in 1729, and Benjamin Franklin was baptized here. It was the largest building in all of colonial Boston. FIVE THOUSAND colonists crowded into this building to decide what to do about the ships full of tea in the harbor.

This is the interior, can you even imagine, 5,000 people in here?IMG_5408

Next we have Kings Chapel.

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I loved Kings Chapel, enough I went back every day. I even went to a church service there, and I’m not particularly religious. The church was founded in 1686. When it was time to build a new building, they weren’t able because there was no more land. So, they build this stone building around the old wooden one, in 1749, then carried the wooden one out, piece by piece. The pulpit from the original church remains in the building. Over 30,000 sermons have been preached from this spot. IMG_5238

It was very powerful to kneel at this alter where so many people have been. Where people were worshiping before the United States even existed!

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The history of the pews was very interesting, in my opinion.

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The pews are not in rows, they are in high-walled boxes. You could “buy” a pew, and pay a yearly rent. This allowed the family that owned it to make it fit their needs. The walls kept the area warmer in the winter. These are original pews, from the 1600s. The owners could decide how the seating was set up. This one held the most people. I saw many with a single row, and one with just 2 seats in it. While the upholstery has been redone, the padding is still the original horse-hair! The owners were able to decorate them as they wished until the twentieth century.

I did not go into the bell tower, though I wish I had. in 1772 a bell was shipped for the tower from London. It fractured in 1814 and Paul Revere offered to remake the bell. It was one of the largest bells ever cast in the Revere foundry and it was the last one made by Paul Revere.

That is all for today, if I include everything I’ll be writing for days!

Whirlpool State Park

IMG_7003Whirlpool State Park in located in New York.

It is just off the Robert Moses State Parkway, Niagara Falls, New York. Do you know what else is off the Robert Moses St. Pkwy? Niagara Falls. So, that explains the lack of people when you pull into the parking lot of this state park. If you like people and touristy things, Niagara Falls is where you want to go. There are all sorts of places to spend your money. However, if you are looking for a bit quieter, or maybe you’ve spent all your money at the Falls, but don’t want to sit around your hotel room, than this is the place for you.

I read some reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor. The reviews are colored by people’s perspective. I saw many that said “nothing to see except water.” which,is almost technically true. But, let me tell you, it is worth it.

Both parking and admission into the park is free. There is a playground beside the parking lot, as well as picnic tables. There is a small welcome center, with some history, and a couple bathrooms.

If you are not in shape, or not a hiker, this is a difficult place to visit. If you are a hiker, you will think this is an easy day. I felt I got a great workout, and was able to go everywhere, even though I’m not in the best shape.

Come see Whirlpool State Park with me.

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This is toward the beginning of the trails. It looks nice, and simple. This is at the top of the gorge. After walking a half mile or so, there is a break in the railing.  You can continue along the railing, or you can look in the break, to see stairs.

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This photo is taken, looking up, from about the middle point of the stairs. This is the easy part of the stairs.  Take the stairs! This is how you get to the bottom of the gorge. You walk down 300-400 steps. I don’t know how many, I lost count. Please remember though, you have to go back up them.

The stairs will give way to ground. I’d like to tell you it is flat, level ground, but it isn’t. We found a rocky, steep, area, that might have been a path, but we aren’t sure. We took it anyway. (Watch out for snakes and ticks.) If you take these random, rocky paths you might end up somewhere like this.

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This is downstream from the whirlpool. If you look closely toward the top of the picture you can see the Whirlpool Aero Car (click it, it will take you to their website), taking people over the top of the river, to see the whirlpool. That was actually how I found this park, months ago I took the aero car and saw people standing on rocks, 300 feet below, and I needed to find those rocks. I did.

You can sit on the rocks and watch the jet boats, or you can keep on walking. We sat for an hour or so, just watching. Then, kept walking.

This is where you begin to lose the trails. Watch for neon orange spray paint on rocks or trees. Those are the trails. You will eventually find another rocky path. Take it. It leads you to flat rocks, directly under the cable car. Straight ahead, as you walk, you will see the whirlpool and the rapids. IMG_7063

Now, allow me to explain, this is not a whirlpool like you see in the movies. Where the water spins in a perfect circle and creates a sort of underwater tornado. The whirlpool effect is much subtler. It is caused by the river taking a sharp turn at this point, almost a 90 degree turn. The rapids are a category 6 in this place. DO NOT get in the water! You will die.

Once you’ve had your fill of this scenery, you can continue down the path. At some point, you will look up, and see how far you have come down.

IMG_7069The parking lot is at the very top of this rock.

This is about as far as we went, because we planned badly. And, that is actually part of what got this blog started.

Do I have you interested in seeing this? The next post will be the practical side of things, thing you need to know if you are going to visit. Things we’ve learned from experience.

I’m still figuring out how to organize this, so be patient with me.

 Whirlpool State Park 

The First Post!

Let me start off with a bit about me.

I’m Katie. I travel a lot. But, I don’t really “vacation”.  My husband, Brad, has a job that affords us a lot of travel perks, because he is away from home Monday-Friday. Sometimes we, meaning the kids and I, get to go with Brad to work. Sometimes that is awesome, and we go to the beach. Sometimes, it isn’t so awesome and we go to the middle of nowhere, Missouri. Sometimes it’s just me, sometimes it’s all of us. And, we always find ways to stay busy.

Home base is northeastern Indiana. The family consists of Brad and I. Both about 30, and our sons, who are 10 and 8. We home school the kids, and so we end up being able to go to work with Brad a lot.

I realized as I went through the photos, mementos, scrapbooks, and journal entries, I’m gaining a lot of information about HOW to travel, and how to enjoy it no matter where you are. I thought I would share the knowledge I gain, along with information about specific places, and I can share photos without annoying my Facebook friends anymore. ;)

Join me on my travels. Enjoy.

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