Tag Archives: hiking

Find Your Trail!

Today is National Trails Day. Get outside and experience a trail near you. Or better yet, grab some friends and volunteer to maintain a neighborhood trail.


A day in the life…

What an Alaskan does upon returning from a month long sabbatical:


The view from Murphy Dome in black & white

Spend the morning fixing a customer’s plumbing problem. Like most plumbing problems, the job took two trips for fittings. Like all seemingly easy jobs, the customer added two new problems upon arrival, which had previously “slipped their mind”.

Buy potting soil.

Order flooring for a job that is two weeks away.

Buy tomato, pepper and squash plants.

Set up rain barrels for customer. Repair barrels where customer broke fittings. Reinstall water pump for garden from their pond. Let out their dog and chase it around the yard for a few minutes. Scratch their cat, so it doesn’t feel left out.

Stop by post office for mail, and Fred Meyer for just a few groceries.

Load truck with tools & materials for the next day’s job.

Uncover 1 ton work truck, that has been parked all winter. Hook up battery tender.

Take phone call from customer that wants me to hang several bird feeders. I caution customer that bird feed, especially black sunflower seeds, attracts bears, which she has had several visit in the past. Bird feeder job remains in limbo, as no decision was made.

Remove door to Rover hut for the season.

Plant lettuce.

Unplug refrigerator to defrost, before restocking. Plug in the Rover’s fridge to substitute for the next 24 hours.

Hike out to back 400 pond with Leica to check out the nesting trumpeter swans. The sun is wrong for good pictures, but the reward of watching the swimming pair from the brush is still high.

Haul out deck chairs; put away snowshoes.

Drop window awning, because cabin was 86 degrees when you returned home this afternoon.

Plant sunflowers.

Crack open a beer and grill a chicken breast and zucchini.

Contemplate that tomorrow is really going to be a hectic day.



Devil’s Hole Stairway


Rainbow Bridge


Side Track


Niagara Falls State Park


Welcome to Goat Island

Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S.. The 400 plus acre park was established in 1885. I spent an entire afternoon exploring its trails and taking in the sights and sounds of The Falls.


Niagara Falls from the American side

Compared with last autumn, when I was on the other bank with the Curator & Brazil Lucas, the crowds this week were at a minimum. From the looks of things, May 1 is the date that things open up. The lower trails were still closed off, and few, if any attractions/facilities were open.


Statue dedicated to Nikola Tesla

In 1896, Nikola Tesla sent AC power, generated at The Falls, to Buffalo for the first time, proving to the world that it could be done. Previously, the DC power generated at The Falls could only be transmitted 100 yards.


Canadian Goose enjoying lunch at The Falls

It was a beautiful day to be out walking the trails. There is a trolley that runs through the park. You can get on and off as many times as you need during a day for $3. Not a bad price when you consider that a horse drawn carriage ride around The Falls in 1895 cost $1/hour.


Waterfall leading up to Three Sisters Islands

There is a pedestrian bridge and a vehicle bridge over to Goat Island. There are actually several islands at this end of the park, with foot bridges connecting them all. Some nice views of both sides of The Falls can be had from the island, with the Niagara River surrounding you.


Niagara from Goat Island

Four of the five Great Lakes drain into the Niagara River, before it flows into Lake Ontario. 75,750 gallons of water a second goes over American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, and another 681,750 gallons per second over Horseshoe Falls.

It will take 50,000 years, due to erosion, for Niagara Falls to cease to exist.


Niagara River Gorge


Niagara River Gorge

I finally broke free, stretched my legs a bit, and ventured out to the lower Niagara River Gorge. After brew pubs, and Ted’s Hot Dogs, I needed to wear off some calories.


The Whirlpool on the Niagara River

I stopped by Devil’s Hole State Park, which historically, was an important portage around The Falls & rapids of the Niagara River. A 6.4 mile trail loops between Devil’s Hole and Whirlpool State Park. The trail runs the rim of the gorge, overlooking the river, but another route runs along the river’s bank. I did the two trails in a loop. To get to the trail along the riverbank, one has to venture down a series of rock stairs. I’m not sure when they were built, but the park was formed in 1924, and they look original to the park. Not that I’m complaining, the more rustic the better, in my opinion.

At any given time, only 25-50% of the water that should be flowing through the gorge and over the falls, actually does so. The rest is syphoned off for hydroelectric power. The romantic in me would love to see The Falls and The Gorge with full power. Just for a day. Or two…


Shameless Fairbanks Promo:

An introduction to Fairbanks and Interior Alaska:

There is no place quite like it.


The Alaska Range