Go See Do Photography

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Tag: hiking (Page 1 of 2)

Hiking Sleeping Bear: Alligator Hill

View from the lookout on the Alligator Hill Trail

This past summer, we took a weekend camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Located on Lake Michigan, just south of Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of the most beautiful places in the state! Usually, when we visit the dunes, we head for the Empire Bluff Trail, which ends in one of the best lookouts in the state. This time, we decided to try something different and hike the Alligator Hill Trail, one of the most popular trails in the park.

Although longer than the short Empire Bluff Trail, Alligator Hill was an easier hike. It was a gradual uphill for most of the 1.3 mile hike to the lookouts. By avoiding the intermediate and advanced trails and stopping at each of the lookouts, this hike is 4.1 miles round trip, but much less strenuous than climbing to the top of Empire Bluff. The view from the overlooks was nice, but it didn’t compare to the striking sand cliff at Empire Bluff.

After hiking Alligator Hill, I have some recommendations for hikers at Sleeping Bear Dunes. If you are looking for a fairly easy day hike, with some nice views, you can’t go wrong with Alligator Hill. If you’re up for something a little more strenuous with absolutely amazing views, hike Empire Bluff. I was glad we hiked the Alligator Hill trail, but the next time we’re at the dunes, we will go back to Empire Bluff instead!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week to read more about our weekend at Sleeping Bear Dunes! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Mainely Acadia: Park Loop Return

After a week on Mount Desert Island, we returned to our first stop of the trip, the Park Loop Road. It was a good way to bookend our trip with a nice drive along some of the most scenic spots in the park.

Of course, we got out and walked around the top of Cadillac Mountain to take in the panoramic view of the park. Guests are free to get off the path, but are just asked to stay on the granite surfaces not stay off the vegetation. If you are at all surefooted, this is a nice way to get out of the car and stretch your legs. You are already at the top of the mountain, so its pretty flat, but as you can see in the picture to the left, the ground isn’t very even so it can be easy to trip if you are not paying attention.

After heading down the mountain, we were ready for lunch so we headed to the Atlantic Brewing Company. ABC is the only brewery on Mt Desert Island and they have two locations – one downtown Bar Harbor and one not far from the park. I’m not a big beer drinker so I was glad to see they serve ciders in the restaurant. When we finished eating, we got a tour of the brewery. It is a very small brewery and with our small group, the tour only lasted about 20 minutes. Since we did those bourbon tours a few years ago, it was interesting how similar the beermaking process is. If you are looking to kill some time on Mount Desert Island and you like beer, the Atlantic Brewing Company tour is free and includes a tasting. For more information, visit AtlanticBrewing.com.

Thanks for stopping by! To hear more about this trip, visit the Mainely Acadia Trip Report Page. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Bubble Rock

Mainely Acadia: Hiking South Bubble Mountain

On our last trip to Acadia, we left without doing everything we wanted to do. One of the biggest things was hiking to the top of South Bubble Mountain. The hike is rated as an easy family hike, but I was skeptical. How could climbing a mountain be easy?  Chris kept reassuring me that the parking lot is about half way up the mountain, we weren’t climbing it from its base where it looms 400 feet above Jordan Pond.

Bubble Rock perched atop South Bubble Mountain

Perched at the top of South Bubble Mountain is Bubble Rock. Bubble Rock is a glacial erratic, meaning if you look at it, Bubble Rock looks different than the rock on South Bubble Mountain. It was deposited there as the glaciers receded during the last ice age. Over the years, many people have tried to push it off, but no one has been successful. The ease of the hike and the curiosity of Bubble Rock make this one of the most popular hikes in the park.

After successfully climbing South Bubble, I can tell you that it is not a bad hike. Its estimated that it can be done in about an hour, but I don’t think it took us that long. To get good light, we left early, but we were back in Southwest Harbor in time for breakfast. If you’ve been to Sleeping Bear Dunes, it was an easier hike than the Empire Bluff Trail, which is my favorite hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes. It is a slight incline the whole way up, but it does have steps built in, so you don’t have to find your own way up like some of the other trails in Acadia. Because we left for our hike so early, we only saw a handful of other hikers on the trail. This was a great way to escape the crowds in Acadia and get to truly appreciate the scenery.

If you are looking for a short, easy hike in Acadia, I recommend you climb South Bubble Mountain. The views were definitely better than the Jordan Pond hike that we did last year. If you get there early in the morning, like us, its not hard to find a parking spot, but if you wait until later in the day, you may want to park at the visitor’s center and take the Island Explorer Bus. There are only a handful of spots in the South Bubble Parking Area. If you are looking for a more challenging hike, you can continue from the South Bubble Trail to the Jordan Pond Trail  or continue onto North Bubble Mountain. Check out Joe’s Guide to Acadia National Park, for more information on hiking in Acadia.

Thank you for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week to read about our sunset tour of Acadia! To read more of our Mainly Acadia trip, click here.  If you’re enjoying this trip report, you can read about some of our previous trips. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park has been on my bucket list since I first saw a picture of it when I first got on Flickr, about ten years ago. A picture very similar to the one on the left inspired my wanderlust. Looking at this picture, I would assume this was Costa Rica, or Hawaii, but no, this amazing glen of water and rock is actually in western New York. When I discovered this beautiful place is less than 8 hours away, I began planning a long weekend to explore it. Finally, the time came when it made sense to visit.

After visiting several Maine lighthouses, we made our way to Keane, New Hampshire for the night. I didn’t have much planned on the way from New Hampshire to Watkins Glen, but we did stop at the Albany Museum of Art and History to get out of the car and stretch our legs. Before long, we arrived at Watkins Glen and set up camp.

In the summer, the park offers shuttles from the Main Entrance to the upper entrance of the park. This allows you to hike down the 1 1/2 mile Gorge trail instead of having to go up 800 steps.  This made of a pretty leisurely, hike. It is definitely one of the most scenic of my life. If we had more time to explore, it would have been nice to hike some of the other trails in the park and get a different view of the gorge. As it was, I’m sure we got to see the best part.

From the moment we left the parking lot, I knew this was going to be like no other place I had ever seen. It seemed like every few feet there were beautiful stone bridges high above cascading falls. It reminded me a lot of Hocking Hills, but much more compact. The whole time I was amazed at the beauty, only to go down a few more steps, make a turn and get an even more breathtaking view.

While the top photo is the most iconic one of the park, the whole Gorge Trail blew my mind. I have never seen such a beautiful place. I have a really hard time reconciling it with New York state. This is not what I think when I think of New York. I’ve been told that some of the other parks in the Finger Lakes are just as beautiful. I will have to go back sometime to see for myself.

To plan your visit to Watkins Glen, visit parks.ny.gov. Be sure to come back next week when we visit the Corning Museum of Glass. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Hiking Jordan Pond

On our second day at Acadia National Park, we set out to hike the Jordan Pond Trail. Jordan Pond is one of the iconic features of the park and by taking the trail around it, you get into the woods and experience the real Acadia. As I mentioned in last week’s post, after two hot days in Maine, a storm rolled in and cooled it down to more comfortable, hiking weather.

The View from the Jordan Pond House

The trail begins near the Jordan Pond House Restaurant (left). The 4.3 mile trail is described as an easy, family, friendly hike. 2/3 of the trail are pressed dirt and boardwalks but the rough, rocky terrain near the back side of the pond surprised me. There were some spots where it was hard to get my footing and I was worried I was going to fall. If you want to enjoy the park and get away from the crowds, I recommend taking a hike. The parking lot was full, but it felt like we were the only people on the trail.

We were hoping to do some more hiking before we left Acadia but the weather did not cooperate. Chris really wanted to hike Bubble Rock (the mountain the can be seen straight back in both of the photos). Somehow, its described as an easy hike. How can climbing up a mountain be easy? Anyway, it stormed on our last day so we left early and began heading home. We will have to come back to Acadia another day and maybe I’ll be brave enough to conquer the Bubble.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week as we photograph Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Old Man’s Falls

Hiking Hocking Hills: Old Man’s Cave

 Old Man’s Cave is the most popular area of Hocking Hills State Park. It is the center of the park. The campground is here and of all the trails in the park, Old Man’s Cave had the most to see. Anticipating the crowds, I decided to visit Old Man’s Cave on Monday morning figuring that the weekend visitors would be gone and the crowds would be less. The rain that had been forecasted all weekend, finally came and I think that helped keep the crowds down too. If you were spending the whole week in Hocking Hills, you were not going hiking in the rain.

As you can see in the above photo, there were still people around and I was glad they were there. I used to be afraid of having people in my landscape photos. Now, I feel like the people in that photo add a frame of reference to the landscape. You can’t tell how big the cave is without people in it for perspective. The people also add life to the photos. They show that this is an area that people explore. They give meaning to the bridges and steps in the landscape.

Old Man’s Cave Upper Falls

While the rain kept the crowds down, it also really added to the atmosphere. Walking through the rainy, foggy, gorges felt like walking through another planet. It felt unreal. It reminded me of walking through Disney World, but this was not created by people. Really, words cannot describe this area. It has to be seen to be comprehended.

As I mentioned, the Old Man’s Cave Trail had the most to see of all the trails in Hocking Hills. There are five main sections of the Old Man’s Cave area, making up about one mile of trails: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge. Of course, one of the features of the trail is Old Man’s Cave (top) where a hermit lived in the late 1700s. The Grandma Gatewood Trail also begins here and continues on to Ash Cave and Cedar Falls.

Read more in my Hiking Hocking Hills Series: Camping & Hiking Hocking Hills, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Conkle’s Hollow and Rock House. To plan your trip to Hocking Hills, visit HockingHills.com If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Hiking Hocking Hills: Rock House

The hike to Rock House was the last hike of our full day in Hocking Hills and it was the hardest hike we did. Rock House is the only true cave in the park. It has a ceiling that is 25 feet tall and the main corridor is 200 feet long and is 30 feet wide in spots. Native Americans used the Hominy Holes as baking ovens. Troughs and holding tanks have been carved in the stone to collect rain water. Robbers, murderers and bootleggers once used this out of the way cave as a hideout. A hotel was once erected on the grounds on what is now the picnic shelter. (HockingHills.com)

The Rock House trail is only a half mile long but it is a half mile of large, uneven, sandstone steps. The trail is narrow and children and dogs should be closely supervised. The rock house at the end was totally worth the climb. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The giant rock house was significantly cooler and less humid than the surrounding areas and was nice break at the end of the climb. This would be a great place to visit around magic hour for better lighting for photos. The light was pretty harsh when we were there and made the spot difficult to photograph.

Read more in my Hiking Hocking Hills Series: Camping & Hiking Hocking Hills, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Conkle’s Hollow and Old Man’s Cave (coming soon). To plan your trip to Hocking Hills, visit HockingHills.com If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Hiking Hocking Hills: Cedar Falls

When we arrived at the Cedar Falls parking lot, I heard so much screaming I thought there was a roller coaster at the end of the trail. Instead, at the end of the half mile trail we found the largest waterfall by volume in the park. You can see from the below photo, this is another popular spot in the park. The screams that could be heard from the parking lot were from visitors stepping into the chilly water and under the falls. Luckily, the water flowing from the falls wasn’t at full force when I visited, because stepping under the falling water can be dangerous.

Unlike Ash Cave, the Cedar Falls trail is not ADA accessible. It starts with a set of stairs known as Democracy Steps. These steps were designed by  artist, architect and mathematician, Akio Hizume, to be “pleasant and relaxing”. I have to say, of all the steps in the park, these were some of the easiest. Before looking at a map, I had forgotten stairs were involved in this hike. According to HockingHills.com “The lengths of individual steps are varied, so that walkers alternate the leading foot, establishing a comfortable pace and rhythm… It reflects mathematical principles of the Fibonacci sequence and the one-dimensional Penrose lattice.” Who knew math could make stairs more enjoyable?

Thank you for stopping by!  Read more in my Hiking Hocking Hills Series: Camping & Hiking Hocking Hills, Ash Cave, Conkle’s Hollow, Rock House and Old Man’s Cave (coming soon). To plan your trip to Hocking Hills, visit HockingHills.com. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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