Letchworth State Park

It’s been too long since I’ve done a road trip. Yeah, yeah I know I was on one just a month ago but it feels like it’s been forever. Since it’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada this weekend and I was able to swing an extra day off, my friends Nigel Banks and Paul Berkloo joined me on a trip to the Finger Lakes region in New York State. We are heading for Watkins Glen State Park to explore a gorge full of waterfalls. Yay, Waterfalls!

But before we get there a stop at Letchworth State Park to wet our whistle on some waterfalls was our first destination. First up was the Wolf’s Creek. The waterfall itself is awkward to photograph without putting ourselves in danger so we settled with getting some photographs of the cascade above the falls. Not to worry there were more waterfalls in our future that we could photograph safely.

Wolf's Creek

Wolf’s Creek the Upper Falls.

For example the Upper Falls. A paved path takes you right up to a number of possible views of the waterfall. There is a train trestle above the falls so photos of it can be challenging unless you embrace the trestle and make it part of your photograph. Other options are to create detail shots of the falls or some major editing later. All up to you as you are the creator of your art.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Downstream from all the main waterfalls is a wonderful pyramid shaped mountain with a flat top. As you can see we lucked out with some great cloud cover. (It was a little of a drizzly start this morning but the clouds worked for us).

Natural Pyramid

Natural Pyramid

I saved the best for last with the Middle Falls, one of their most dramatic falls. Isn’t she a beauty?

Middle Falls

Middle Falls

After exploring a good portion of the park it was time to get back on the road and make our way to our home away from home for the night. Tomorrow’s plan was an early start at Watkins Glen State Park.

Views from the Cadillac

It was hard to leave Pemaquid this morning. I loved the campground and the area was stunning but it was time to move on again. This time I was heading to an equally beautiful area – Acadia National Park. I first had to pack up and drive the few hours to the park. Fog had settled in for the morning drive which made everything look mysterious.

As the Fog Settles In

As the Fog Settles In

The fog didn’t stay for long. As I drove closer to the park it lifted slowly and I caught this photo below with a little still left over in the distance. It wasn’t long before it was all gone and the drive become more mundane. I was anxious to get to the park and get settled in.

The River

The River

By late afternoon I reached my destination and was settled into camp. I love what I have seen of the park so far and I was itching to get out and shoot. One great thing I’ve been loving about this week is how quiet the campgrounds have been. All the kids and parents are dealing with the first week of school and I’m out here enjoying the small crowds.

Taking a peek at the map I decided I would drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sun go down. When I parked at the top I realized that it was damn windy up here at the tallest peak in the county at 470m (1,528 feet) but the views from up here were well worth being pushed around by a little wind.

Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain

I can’t wait to explore more of the park but for now it’s back to the camp for dinner and to plan tomorrows exploration of the National Park.

The Golden Circle

A comfy evening in Reykjavik at our apartment had us energized and ready to go explore the Golden Circle this morning. Our original plan was to head to the furthest point and then make our way back – this meant hitting the waterfalls and ending with the geysers. That is until we drove past the geysers and realized there were no crowds in sight. A perfect time to hit this area!

Steam Vents

Steam Vents

Walking up to the active geyser we passed the steam vents and some bubbling pools of toasty warm water.

About to Blow

About to Blow

I could spend a whole day watching and waiting for the geyser to blow out of its hole in the ground. Predicting when it was going to blow became a bit of a game as we stood waiting. It would bubble and look like it was imploding before a huge bubble formed on the surface and burst. With heights of almost 20 metres it blotted on the sun at times.

Þingvellir Church

Þingvellir Church

Our final stop on our journey today was Þingvellir (Thingvellir) national park. Home of the original parliament, this amazing park sits upon the rift between the Eurasia and North American plates. Looking out from the top of cliff it looks as though the land has been clawed at in certain spots. From this lookout point if you look down you can see where the rift is occurring. Galina and I ventured on the path down towards the church to do some more exploring before heading back to our apartment and our last dinner in Reykjavik.

Roadside Pitstops

Today we were headed down the east coast with our final destination in the south, in the town of Hofn. Along the way rugged cliffs stretched below and sometimes above us with us as we drove fjord after fjord.

Pitstop

Pitstop

We made a pitstop at one of these soaring cliffs to check out something a little unexpected…a short, stubby orange lighthouse.

Small

Small

At barely two stories high this little lighthouse sits atop a huge cliff at the top end of a fjord warning those on the ocean to watch out.  There were some ruins on the property marked with names which may indicate either the first settlers, the vikings, or maybe something from a more recent past. I’m not sure and still haven’t found much on this area.

Reindeer

Reindeer

Continuing towards Hofn we started discussing the fact that we hadn’t seen any reindeer and that really by this point we should have seen something. Just a few minutes after bringing up this discussion we round a bend and there was a large group of reindeer that all at once, upon seeing us, ran parallel to the car before veering to the right heading uphill. One thing about reindeer is that they are bloody hard to see. There is seven in the photo above but the almost blend in to the landscape. Good camouflage there reindeer! Makes me wonder if  we may have passed some previously but didn’t spot them. I don’t think so since they seem to be easily spooked. But one never really knows.

I’m Finally Here

A year of planning is behind me now as I take my first steps on Icelandic soil. With the help of my friends Galina and Paul we have been able to pull this trip together. Two weeks around the ring road await us starting today. It doesn’t feel strange being here, more like familiar ground. I’m not sure why that is but I’m sure that feeling will change very soon. For right now things seem comfortable. It’s Saturday  and we’ve all been up for almost 24 hours but I’m feeling wide awake as the brisk wind hits my face. Picking up our vehicle for the trip, a Kia Sorrento, from Blue Car Rental we all piled in ready to start the long journey around the island.

Our first stop is Reykjavik – it’s time to do a little shopping before we get this trip underway. The flea market is waiting for us – only problem – it’s 8am and things don’t open until 10am.The first sign that we’ve left North America behind us.  We wandered the streets aimlessly, popping into a little cafe for some breakfast and then wandering the streets some more. My goal at the flea market is to get myself an authentic Icelandic wool sweater at better than average prices. I scored big time at one of the booths when I found exactly what I wanted – a white hooded zip up. Perfection!

Borgarfjörður Mountains

Borgarfjörður Mountains

After our shopping was done we headed outside to taste test the best hot dogs in Europe at a little stand across from the Market. Then it was back to the car and the drive to our first guesthouse for the night in Borgarnes. The drive was, shall I say, challenging? Once out of Reykjavik the snow began in earnest and our GPS decided to take the long way around. We were all happy to get to Borgarnes safe and sound as we prepped for the adventure ahead.