If you travel enough, it’s inevitable that things will go wrong. I count myself very fortunate that, so far, I’ve managed to avoid any extreme crises while traveling (knock on wood).
We’ve had a few hiccups – a couple flat tires, almost running out of gas once (this one was 100% my dad’s fault), forgetting something (this has happened more than once, we now own 3 hammers…), and I remember as a kid I once left one of my favorite books on the plane. But these are all minor inconveniences.
The time we drove 2 hours out of our way to visit Four Corners and arrived to find it closed certainly wasn’t one of our best moments.
But in all honestly, our biggest vacation fail didn’t really involve our vacation at all. In fact, we didn’t even realize what we’d done until we arrived back at home. Continue reading
I’m just going to come out and say it: New England isn’t my favorite place. It’s been a good experience for me to live somewhere different, and I’ve largely enjoyed my time here, but it’s not a place I want to stay after Pat and I finish school. Too many people, too much traffic, too many months of crappy weather…you get the idea.
But one thing that New England does better than anywhere else I’ve ever been is autumn. The colors here are just amazing!
Fortunately, I was able to begin learning this within a few short weeks. One of my then-roommates and one of her friends are as adventurous as I am; the 3 of us hit it off and began spending our weekends exploring the area.
Over the course of my first New England fall, we visited two local state parks, a state forest, and hiked a couple of local trails. I also went apple picking and pumpkin picking for the first time ever – two important New England fall traditions! Continue reading
Day 5. The last day of our cross-country road trip.
After catching one last glimpse of Niagara Falls, my mom and I set off for the long drive across upstate New York. We drove I-90 from Niagara Falls all the way to Schenectady before branching off onto Highway 7. This wasn’t the fastest way to Connecticut. But as per usual, my mom and I decided that if we were going to be in New England, we were going to visit as many states as we could. We ended up hitting 5 of the 6, so I’d say we did a pretty good job.
First stop: Vermont. Continue reading
At the end of my last post, my mom and I were wading in Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Day 4 of our cross-country excursion, however, was the one I was most excited for. Our destination: Niagara Falls!
We left Indiana early in the morning, continuing across the northern edge of the state and crossing into Ohio. By lunch, we were just outside of Cleveland. Coincidentally, earlier that morning my mom and I had been discussing national parks and the fact that there aren’t any in Ohio. She grew up there so I didn’t have any reason to doubt her. However, when I pulled out the map to find us a suitable picnic location, I spotted the small green area labeled Cuyahoga Valley National Park just south of Cleveland.
And so our picnic spot was chosen. Continue reading
August 10, 2012: Moving Day.
I don’t think it had hit me yet that I would be spending the next few years of my life in Connecticut. I’d never been there before. I’d never been anywhere in the northeast. All I had was warnings from various people that northeasterners are rude and everyone has a Boston accent. And though people do tend to drive like total jackasses here, I quickly learned that most people are friendly and the Boston accent is pretty well confined to Boston.
Anyway, the point of my story is that I hadn’t quite realized what I was getting myself into. It didn’t really hit me until I was sitting in my new house in Connecticut and my mom was on a plane back home. My roommates hadn’t yet arrived and my grad school advisor was on vacation. I was alone. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t the best day I’ve ever had.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading
In keeping with my list-making theme, I’ve decided to start a favorite destinations series of posts. I’ve previously talked about some of my favorite hikes and my favorite national parks, so today I thought I’d branch out a little bit and talk about my favorite waterfalls.
For the most part, these aren’t the tallest waterfalls I’ve ever seen, and unlike much of what I talk about on this blog, many of these aren’t located in national parks. Instead, these are the waterfalls stand out in my mind in some way.
Awosting Falls – Minnewaska State Park, New York
This one makes the list because it’s cool – but also because the unique geology and large volume of water surprised us immensely.
Day 2 at Crater Lake dawned clear and calm, which was perfect because this was the day we’d been waiting for – boat tour day! We’d hemmed and hawed over this for quite a while because the $42 per person tickets didn’t really fit in with our MO of budget travel. But in the end, we made the tour reservations because we knew that if we didn’t we’d end up regretting it.
And it was worth every dollar!
The only access to Crater Lake is on foot, by descending an incredibly steep 1.1-mile trail to Cleetwood Cove. This strenuous trail drops 700 feet in this short distance; going down isn’t too difficult, but climbing back up at the end of the day is a different story. After a long day in the sun, our legs were not pleased with what we were asking of them.
From the dock at Cleetwood Cove, Volcano Boat Cruises offers two tours: the Standard Lake Cruise (a guided tour around the perimeter of the lake), and the Wizard Island Cruise (which also circles the lake but includes a 3-hour stop on Wizard Island). We took the Wizard Island Cruise, which departed at 9:30am and got us back to Cleetwood Cove by about 3:00pm. The lake portion of the tour is narrated by a park ranger; on the Wizard Island part of the tour, we were left to our own devices.
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly, and we learned a lot about the geology and history of the lake. Of course, this was 4 years ago so I don’t remember all of what we learned. But I remember that we learned it. Continue reading