Thursday, December 31, 2009

My last sunrise of 2009

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This is the last sunrise I was able to photograph in 2009, taken December 30, 2009. The 31st was too cloudy.

The morning I left my driveway I could see the orange hues in the horizon in the distance. I was hoping to make it in time to get a shot before having to get to work. As I drove around the last corner, I saw the trees barren of leaves yet their tops orange as if leaves had magically appeared. It is the sun shining on the trees that presents this illusion. It promises me that I will find the reward that I am looking for if I go a few more yards. I reach the field and am able to pull over and once again am rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. Seeing these sunrises has been blessings of the year. I am amazed every time. I hope you will take the time to see a sunrise in 2010. I know I will--and I hope to take someone with me one day.

It's that time of year again...

The time to pack up the baggage of the previous year into two suitcases. First there are the good memories, the milestones and happy times. Unfortunately as years go, good 2009 can fit in a handbag for me, but I will take what I get. Then there's the suitcase to stuff with the bad parts of 2009--cramming in all the terrible things that happened, the unhappy things, the things better off forgotten. I might have to sit on this bag to close it. Well, I guess it wasn't that bad, but it just wasn't the happiest of years.

As we enter 2010, may you take with you your good memories (I hope yours is a huge bag) and leave that other baggage behind--locked up and forgotten. Enter the new year with a new suitcase or maybe more to fill with good memories, milestones and happy times.

May your good suitcase be overflowing with blessings as you continue on your life's journey into 2010.

God bless. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

For those of you who didn't receive a Christmas card from us, chances are if you are reading this, that this sentiment is meant for you too.

The journey of the wise men started with a bright shining star. The prophetic gifts that they brought pale in comparison to the gift that God gave us all on that day starting in the form of a baby’s birth to a Savior’s death and a promise of eternal life in his kingdom.

In these cloudy days it is hard to imagine that bright shining star that the wise men followed but God gives us shining stars all around us. They aren’t lighthouse beacons saving ships by the dozens (well, some are), but most are like a distant twinkling star giving us hope in humanity. I’ve seen them in the person who lets you go in front of them in line, who gives you a ride when you need one, brings you a meal, or invites you to lunch or coffee, shares their coupons, calls or emails to say “hi”, sends a real note in the mail, the person who writes a joke book to share laughter in the world, the people who help animals and children, the person who watches your pets when you are gone, the person who sees you stuck and stops, and I’ve seen them in the simplest gestures from a smile, to a touch to the greatest, a loving hug.

Thank you, our shining stars. We hope in the coming year that you will be surrounded by many stars and that we will be able to be one among the many for you. When your days are dark and cloudy, may you see a glimpse of the Sonshine. Our wish for you in 2010 is that you are blessed and able to be a blessing to others in return.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Bright shining New Year!


George & Debbie

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Life

My husband, George, has his own cleaning business. He is fortunate to have commercial accounts that he cleans when they are closed, so he doesn't have to be there at a specific time, but he does have to have them cleaned by or on a particular day depending on the account.

Now I don't memorize his schedule. I basically know the names of his accounts, but I get confused as to where he is at what time. It's a "not need to know" as I only care as to what time he will be coming home as to know what time dinner will be. It varies every day but I have an approximate idea. On his latest night, Friday, he gives me a call when he's twenty minutes away so I can have dinner ready. It's usually 7pm but has been 8pm if he decides to work on another account to free up some of the Saturday work, or once in a while he runs to Home Depot to pick up something or he may stop at the rental units. There are a number of reasons why he could be running late.

This past Friday, we had spoken earlier in the day and I truly believed he'd be home before 7 pm, but I wasn't sure. When he wasn't I did try calling his cell but I just got his voice mail. I had prepared one of his favorite meals and had taken a chance and cooked it and was trying to keep it warm. By 8 pm I was wondering where he was but thought he wouldn't mind if I'd eat without him. I did and turned off the food figuring he'd have to reheat it in the microwave at this point. I was a little annoyed that he didn't have the courtesy to call to say he was gong to be this late. Maybe he stopped at a fast food place and wouldn't even need dinner. That happens on a rare occasion.

Well, as the minutes go by, I'm starting to get nervous. I did try calling several times more and no answer. At 9pm I decide it's time to take action and track him down. One more call, no answer and I knew I had to go look for him. Okay, where should I look? I thought I knew which account he'd be at, but if he had a problem at the earlier account, he could be there. I had to go through his files to find the addresses, and I am not sure if I could have found one place. I've been before but didn't pay attention to exactly where it's located and it is on a back road.

All the horrible thoughts passed through my mind--a heart attack or he'd fallen and broken something and couldn't move and had left his cell phone in the car(which he sometimes does), his car could have broken down and he could be freezing, or as someone worded it, "He pulled a Tiger Woods"--well it was a fleeting thought because I personally know someone who went through that ordeal recently, but just fleeting. I was mostly worried. Of course, your mind goes to the worst and I imagined being a widow and then silly mind, people would come to my house and it was a mess. Well, I couldn't tidy now, I had to save him--if he needed saving.

It was a freezing night and I was shaking from the cold and my nerves. As I drove in the night, I tried to see the vehicles going past me in the opposite direction to see if he was heading home. I knew the shape of his car, but was trying to remember the license number as those reflected in the dark. None of the numbers looked familiar and none of the shapes. It was about twenty minutes before I got to the first account I was going to try. There was his car!

I looked in the windows and saw his coat but not him. The doors were locked and I knocked and yelled. These are heavy duty windows and doors and a big building, so it was not likely he would hear that. I walked all around and looked in as many windows as I could in the hard crusty snow. I tried all the doors and banged on them. Then I pulled my car right up to the door and honked and honked hoping he would hear and come. I did all this before calling 911 because I was afraid if he was just cleaning that the police would fine me or reprimand me for calling when there wasn't an emergency. The police station was only a few miles away and I thought about driving to ask them but I called 911.

Well, it seemed like they were there in less than five minutes without sirens. They proceeded to ask me if he had any medical issues and I told them but I also told them that I thought there had been issues with the elevator in the building. They pounded on the door and yelled. They walked around. The fire department was supposed to send someone too and they found an employee of the company who would come with a key but before the others arrived, the police were able to get through a window.

As soon as the cop went in he yelled George's name and he heard the elevator buzzer. He was stuck in the elevator--for four hours! Soon a fireman came and the employee. There were instructions in an office with a key to some panel that enabled them to free up the elevator stuck between floors.

It was a happy ending. I should have George write a separate blog of his end of the story--cell phones don't work in elevators, there was a spot for emergency call box, but no phone, the emergency buzzer does not go to police station but just in the building which does no good when it's vacant, or he thought maybe if he didn't just push it but tried to spell our Morse Code. He had no fears of a major blackout or end of the world (as my mind would surely have gone) because he had a light in the elevator and he could hear the furnace kick on but he did start getting cold as he had been working in a t-shirt. He was using the elevator to move his cleaning equipment and garbage barrel. He tried to wrap garbage bags around him for warmth. He figured the worst case scenario would be that he would be there until 9am the next morning, so he tried to turn his paper towels into a pillow. There is no way to get comfy in an elevator. He actually had a book on him, thank God, and was able to pass some time reading, but he was hungry too.

George and the police tried to make me a hero. Who wouldn't go out looking for their husband/wife in that case? I feel in no way a hero. I told him that if he ever did "pull a Tiger Woods" that I would hunt him down! He said, "sure and where would you look first?" I said I'd call up his boss and find out all the names of his elderly dial-a-ride customers. We laughed.

Two people from the business did call the next day to check as to how he was doing (he said maybe they are worried about a law suit--which crossed his mind), but I do hope that they do something special for him. He is not quitting this account, but he has figured out that he can put the vacuum and trash barrel in the elevator and let them ride by themselves while he takes the stairs--not pleasing to his arthritis, but I'm sure he will never take that elevator again. Surprisingly, it has not soured him to elevators in general, as I'm sure it would for me, but then again, how often are we in buildings with no one else in it?

As Shakespeare said, "All's well that ends well."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Go and look back once

You know the saying, "Go and never look back". Well, I have my own--"go, but look back once". How many times was someone leaving home and you see that they forgot something or the phone rings for them? You run out as they drive out of the driveway and yell and jump up and down and wave--even though they can't see you. If only they had looked back just once.

I try to make it a habit just in case. One last glance at the door as you pull away--one last look can save you from buying a coffee later or going without. It can save you the extra trip back when you realize you need that paper you left on the table. These incidents work if someone is still home, but you can save you money if you realize the outside light will be on all day and you wouldn't have noticed it if you didn't look back. It's hard when you have a puppy dog looking back at you in the window, wishing you weren't leaving, but take that one more glance.

I know the phrase, "go and never look back" is not intended in this way, but even in it's original meaning, I don't agree. Yes, we should not dwell on the past, but there is knowledge from history. Learn what went wrong and what went right. There is good and bad in almost everything. After your one look, don't linger, move forward. You don't want to be late for the new adventures waiting to for you.

Then there's the "you can never go home again". How sad is that? But how true it is too. Home changes once you leave. You can't expect it to be just as you never left it. Time does not stand still at home, though we often wish it did to have the familiar sanctuary always waiting for us. However, you CAN go home again, it will just be different as you too will be for having grown and changed from life experiences. There will be familiarities at home that will still comfort you so never say never--you should always look back once and you can always go home again, just expect it to be different.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Controlling Road Rage at a Coffee House

Last week we finally got to hear Mad River Crossing perform. They have played in so many places around the area and I've always been intrigued. Well, I finally found out what they were all about. They are so relaxed on stage and yet professional. You can tell they've been working together for a while. We really enjoyed their singing and the accompaniments. The three women harmonize so well together. It was a treat to finally hear them.
I will mention that it was a coffee house fund raiser in an auditorium. At first it was distracting because this same auditorium held several memories of my childhood--one of them traumatizing--well, now that I can look back, it's funny, but not then! After I got over the various memories that kept returning to me of that place, I was able to enjoy the music.
After the first break some new people sat behind us. Now I knew a lot of people in the audience and so I had to contain my reaction. Yes, being a coffee house there is talking during the performances, but most of the people either stayed near the back when they were talking or talked in softer voices. The two women behind me were not talking in soft voices and I wanted to turn around and give them that, "you're bothering me glare", but I was afraid they would be someone that I knew. I tried to take a quick glance but I turned too quickly because I didn't get that good a look.
Well, near the end Mad River Crossing sang a beautiful a capella rendition of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"--you could hear a pin drop--except for the woman behind me. No, she was not talking at least, but she was humming! Grrrrr. Well, at least one cannot hum too loudly.
When it was over I was able to stand up and get a good look--I had never seen them before in my life. If only I had known, I could have given them my disgusted look during the program.
Okay, I know this is all inappropriate behavior on my part. I need to be tolerant of others. They weren't really being rude, although I learned that they were getting airline tickets for $84 and going on vacation, etc, when I would have rather just enjoyed the music. It's funny how we react to situations. I heard once in regards to road rage, pretend that's your mother in the car annoying you. Would you react that way to her? Good point. I was going to be much more considerate to someone I knew than to a stranger. I guess it's love your neighbor unless they are talking too loudly, cutting you off in traffic or blowing their leaves onto your lawn. Put it all in prospective--what does it matter? These moments are just whispers of time in our years here that will fade away into the unremembered past--unless of course, you write about them in a blog, that makes the fading away take a little longer, but it's great therapy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Last words on our day at the beach

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These little birds, we believe they are terns, were fascinating to watch. Just like little children, they would follow a wave as it went out and as soon as it started coming back they would turn and run as fast as their little legs could go back to shore--often in one row across--and their little legs could go fast. They did this over and over again--yet all the while we were getting closer to them, they would also be ever so slightly, barely noticeably, moving sideways further from us. When we left they were still running into the ocean, we assume looking for food, and quickly running back as the waves came in--very fun to watch. Of course, made us think of all the puns--maybe they were called terns because they kept turning around--okay, I heard that groan. I won't tell you the others.

This other picture is the dream street to live on! That sidewalk leads straight to the ocean, which I was hoping you would be able to see in the background, but unfortunately you can't. What a neat neighborhood. Also, unfortunately, it was a private sidewalk and private beach. We kept finding private developments that kept the beaches from us. Not fair! Oh, what money can buy.

34th Anniversary spent at the CT shore

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Today for our 34th wedding anniversary, we got an early start (thanks to daylight savings time) and went to the ocean. On the way down we found a place to eat breakfast and I had an unusual french toast made with banana bread, pineapple and macadamia nuts. It was pretty good. We went to Hammonasset, Rocky Neck and rode around several other little beaches and seashore towns. Although cloudy all day, there were some pretty pastel shades in the sky. I was amazed with the sparsity of shells and rocks at Rocky Neck that I was still able to find a fine specimen of green sea glass (a hobby of mine to find it) and George, who is not so adapt at finding it, found a nice white piece--anniversary sea glass! There were two men with metal detectors and we joked that we should shout and pretend to find a diamond ring. Well, we did get our little treasures. The men didn't look so lucky, but then again, they were looking for bigger game and that takes time and patience.
We had lunch at a place that I shall not name. It was beautiful as far as location--right on the ocean and we had window seats of the boats going by. That was great. What continually amazes us, is we have yet to find a place on the Connecticut shore that has good fish and chip. It wasn't bad, but by the ocean, we want great. Oh, well.
Tonight we will burn our anniversary candle that was burning during our wedding. It was about 15" tall and the years are marked off to burn down each year which we have faithfully done. For some reason, although we still have nine inches left, they only marked off 25 years, so we just burn down a little each year--no longer watching the year melt away. I guess it's a feeling of accomplishment to have out lasted the candle's expectations--nowadays they could make them to come in 5 and 10 years, I'm sorry to say.
And so we start on year 35.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Scam?

Halloween night. No sense getting interested in something on TV as we don't have a DVR and we have to be ready at a moment's notice for the doorbell. It doesn't matter, if you are not into sports, all the other channels have pulled out all stops for gory, ghostly, spooky and scary movies. Don't interest me. Yes, I'm chicken.

It's been an interesting night. The first visitors were neighbors and the parents kindly asked if I knew these other neighbors (yes, I did) and that one of their kids was sick with the flu and therefore, they were collecting candy for him. How sweet. Then I saw the mother had this container of candy and she told me that since their driveway was so long and they were not home, they were delivering candy to the houses of kids in the neighborhood as they went trick or treating. How nice!

Well, less than half an hour later, the sick kid with the flu shows up with his brother! I feel sure that it was a misunderstanding and that the other neighbor did not know the kid would either make a miraculous recovery or would drag himself out of his sickbed (what kid wouldn't on Halloween?). I would be the type of mother to let them do it too--just a few houses. How can you miss a Halloween?

As the night progressed, an interesting trend occurred..."Can I have an extra one for so and so?" This happened four more times. Hmmm.... is this a new kind of Halloween scam? Or is the town under siege with the flu? Whichever, I don't care. We don't get many trick or treaters and we have plenty of candy. We all know I don't need it. Why did I buy my favorites? (Well, you know why!)

I did settle down with a VCR recorded "Monk" from the previous night--that way I could start and stop it as necessary. If you know the show, it was quite out of character when Monk takes in a dog and as dogs do, she stole his heart and was a wonderful companion. This is on the day that my dear friend has to put down her 14 year old companion. Not only was I sad for her but remembering our dear Patches.

Well, at the end of Monk, the dog puts his paw on Monk's knee in a touching moment and Monk takes off his glove to touch the dog's paw--if you know the show, you know how special this is as he is a germ-o-phobic. Okay, so I start to cry. "Ding dong."
Great, here I am "Happy Halloween!" with tears in my eyes. Yikes, I don't know what the girl and mother were thinking. Now I don't know all the people who come but I told myself they looked familiar. It was after they left that I remembered that was the little girl who a few years ago came to our door at Halloween and it was a mild night and I had the inside door open with the glass door shut. She was only about 3 years old and as I went to the door, Patches beat me there. He was on one side and this cute little girl was on the other side of the glass and she excitedly said, "Doggy!" She seemed more excited with him than the candy. I always fondly remembered her squeal of delight. Here was that little girl a few years older that came at that time when dogs were on my mind. Coincidences--I heard someone call these God winks. Been having a few of them lately. I love them.

Hartland Halloween House

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These pictures don't do it justice, but this house in East Hartland will be a wonderful treat for the trick or treaters tonight! It's on Rt. 179--I could not get all the inflatables in the pictures--there's a stage coach, a pumpkin, Winnie the Pooh, gravestones and more. Click on each picture to enlarge it and then hit the back button. They really got into it at that house. I'm sure the kids will love it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Leave for work early and be pleasantly surprised (from the blog)

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I left for work today extra early knowing that I had a harder day than usual ahead of me, however, a couple of miles from work, I was detoured by this. As I glanced to my right, I saw this spectacular sunrise. I pulled over and I reached for my camera which I try to carry with me most times. I wish I had gotten the shot a minute earlier, but it still was the best way to start a day--A time to start with reflection on what really matters, another reminder that God exists, a cleansing of the soul and a smile on my face. Maybe it wasn't meant for me to leave early to get to work rather a chance to enjoy a sunrise.

This is the same spot that I always make time to view the sunrises in late December when once again the timing coincides with my work schedule. How much we take for granted the rising and the setting of the sun everyday. Like the old cliche--stop and smell the roses, stop and see the sunrise.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autumn/Winter Wonderland? (from the blog post)

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This picture was taken in the back of my post office--a rare sight, red, yellow leaves clinging to the trees and snow on the ground. I should have taken a picture of my husband's truck. It's white and there was some snow on it and yellow leaves. Being a food junkie, I automatically thought it looked like giant frosted flakes in milk. Most of us in New England are praying that this is not a sign of the winter to come.
My mother-in-law used to say that you take the date of the first snowfall and that's how many snow storms you will have--15 ugh!!
I do remember driving in snow on a Columbus Day once before. I didn't have snow tires yet and it was pretty frightening.
As soon as the snow falls everyone starts speculating what kind of winter we will have. There are so many theories from the number of acorns, to the stripes of a woolly bear, to the Farmer's Almanac. I haven't found any that I can count on. We have to go day by day. It's probably better that way because if we knew the next day was going to be more snow and the next and the next, we'd be depressed and overwhelmed. I, personally, can handle it better not knowing how bad the future will be. Just like life, it would not be good to know our future. This snowfall was easier to take knowing the 60 degree temperatures will be back later next week, that is after more snow this weekend. :(
October snow, what will they think of next?--how about 70 degree January--turn about is fair play! Well, one can dream.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wait Winter

Wait Winter
I'm not ready.
Today you gave me a taste of what's to come...
find the scraper,
scrape the windows.
scraper not working well.
(you should be able to test them out before you buy.)
going to be late for work.
I know it's going to get worse...
shoveling snow or chopping ice, cold hands, wet feet...
Winter, stop teasing me,
Just go away or at least wait to come...
Maybe February would be good and then you can leave
about March.
I am not a hardy New Englander any more.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cape Cod--East Sandwich

Back from a wonderful weekend in East Sandwich, Cape Cod, MA. Saturday was not a complete washout and we were able to walk on the beach. Then Sunday was moody--cloudy and sunny, but it didn't rain. These are some neat artwork that we found on the beach. We appreciate the time and effort people put into these, so thought I'd share them here. It was fun to be walking along the beach and to come across these surprises. I would never have the patience to make the towers.
I found a piece of green sea glass and a white one and a real rarity--red in the shape of a crescent moon. They go into my glass jar I reserve for my sea glass treasures.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Random Thoughts (Blog Entry)

Thursday, Sept. 24th, Carvel's is giving away free their new small ice cream sandwiches between 3pm-7pm. Not sure, but think they are made with Oreo's.
If a business is losing customers and sales, is it wise to let go of customer service workers, try and maintain same product line, keep all management and raise prices? Maybe I should have taken business management classes because I just don't see how this plan is going to work. The way I see it, it will put a band aid on the boo boo to temporarily make it feel a little better, but it won't stop the bleeding.
My new abbreviations:
TBE (to be enjoyed) like the beautiful days we have been having! TBE days
TYS (told you so) it's not as blatant as shouting the words, and you can even say it under your breath--can give you self-satisfaction without aggravating the person who was wrong.
I seem to be entering time warps lately--basically going places and it seems like it takes twice as long to do things as I think it should take. I guess it's good that I've started some Christmas shopping.
Well, just a few words to let you all know that I am still alive and will be blogging more in the future. Hope you have a TBE day!

Monday, August 31, 2009

"I've Got a Mule and her name is Sal"

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Our final tourist stop was at the Erie Canal Village in Rome, NY. Here is a little recreated village of days of the Canal. They have a couple of homes, blacksmith, tavern and a few other buildings. We also got to ride a canal boat pulled by horse and carriage. We rode inside and on top. As you can see, we were serenaded by this woman with songs of the times. We also took a short train ride at the village.

Well, my vacation "slide" show is done. I have really spared you. I have over 200 photos and I have put them in an album. If you want to see more, come on over and I'll show you.

Fort Stanwix National Park

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This National Park was within walking distance from our motel. Besides having a great exhibit hall, you can go into the fort itself. Once there, we had a wonderful tour guide who went into detail about so many different aspects of the place and time. We couldn't believe that we spent nearly three hours there.

Rome, NY





Had to take some pictures of the remarkable artwork on the walls in Rome, NY--note the size of the cars to realize how big some of this is.
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Erie Canal Museum, Syracuse, NY

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Next stop was the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY. We had a hard time finding it and just felt overwhelmed by the big city of Syracuse. We got to tour a replica of a canal boat and other exhibits. We were told that the canal used to be right in the street in front of us. It's amazing how things change.

We weren't in the big city mood, so we moved on to Rome, NY. The motel we ended up was so much nicer than the first one we stayed at. There was an outdoor pool in a very pretty setting. Everything was clean and people were friendly. I wish this motel were closer, I would go just for a weekend get away and just stay at their pool. The TV in our room was a wall mounted flat screen--and the price for the room was cheaper than the previous. We stayed two nights there before heading home.

Lake Onatario, Oswego, NY

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Just by chance we came upon this Sampson Memorial Museum, the site of a WWII Navy base and later an Air Force base. They preserved a small portion of it. It is a nice presentation as you walk inside the walls and in various rooms in a circular pattern.
This was on our way to see Lake Ontario. I wanted to see another great lake again. I saw Lake Michigan in January 1975. It was just like the ocean but that was in freezing weather. Lake Ontario was beautiful in August. We saw it from two different parks. At one park we asked a local for a good place for fish and chip. We ended up at Rudy's where we could eat at a picnic table overlooking the lake. We were blessed with such beautiful days on our vacation and such amazing scenery.

Watkins Glen, NY (additonal pictures)

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Watkins Glen, NY (Vacation blog continued)

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We were glad we got an early start on the day we went to Watkins Glen. Each day was hot and it was nice to be near the water, but walking on winding uphill paths and a total of over 800 steps, you still get hot.
Thinking of the day we ended up looking down on the 215 foot falls, I was apprehensive as we entered the dark stairway to the glen--having no clue what was in store for us. The falls, and rock formations were gorgeous and fascinating. The paths had us under, over and near falls as the path wound through them. My fear of the unknown and heights had me doubting whether I could go on at one point. When we saw this suspension bridge overhead, I knew I couldn't go across that--I think I'd have to crawl, but as the path took us, we never ended up there. I don't know if it was open to the public. It might have been on the Indian trail which we didn't take.
Some people started from the top and when they passed us we were able to ask them how much further.
So, in the end we did it! And if I had known the unknown I would have been able to do it better. It was not so scary as Taughannock Falls. We were pretty hot and sweaty when we got to the top and glad for bathrooms and water to cool off. It's a beautiful place. I don't know how to put more than four pictures per blog entry, so I think I'll just put some pictures on another entry.