Attack of the falling veils!

I swear to god I was looking up the Bridal Veil Falls and not playing out some sort of childhood wedding fantasy…and I came across the fact that Bridal Veil Falls is a really unoriginal name for waterfalls in America, as there are quite a few. The one I was looking at is in Nantahala National Forest which is not as close to school as I thought it was. So I got distracted and read about all the Bridal Veil Falls in the country…oh, procrastination!

The most famous Bridal Veils are at Niagara Falls. It’s the smallest of the three major falls, but still looks beautiful (never been, but looking at gorgeous pictures). The Cave of the Winds tour (not really a cave) brings you 20 feet away from Bridal Veil Falls. I want to go!!!

There’s the Bridal Veil Falls State Park on the Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway in Oregon. I’ve actually been to the Columbia River Gorge, like when I was 6, my mom took me to visit a college friend of hers. So there are pictures of me in front of some waterfall, but don’t know which one, and neither does my mom.

Utah has it’s own Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon (called bridal veil park).

There are Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite National Park.

I thought maybe I was being really ditzy and that maybe Bridal Veil Falls is like a specific type of falls, I dunno something to do with rock formation or atmospheric something or other. but they’re just pretty falls that look like a veil.

Wikipedia has a huge list. Here is a sampling:

I dunno. Maybe that’ll be of some use to someone. Ok, gotta do my hoooooooooomeeeeewooooork! Stop distracting me!


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First stop: Pennsylvania!

I realize I was being a bit close-minded about the east coast. I know that the major cities that I was frustrated with comprise only a small portion of the coast… really I think I was just distressed with my job which was supposed to be an environmental grassroots group but which was so heavily under the influence of big business that it was losing its focus. Anyways, we’re in Ohiopyle in Pennsylvania and I just want to write about my experience in this gorgeous state so far. The Laurel Mountains are a wonder whose majesty left me dumbfounded and hungry for what’s to come in the next months. When we got to Ohiopyle State Park, we immediately met up with this group of very cool people from Denver who were just ending a roadtrip of their out to the east coast. We exchanged email addresses and we got a lot of GREAT info about where to go between here and Colorado. We spent 2 days at Ohiopyle State Park with our new friends. The only word to describe the area is awesome, and not in a totally awesome way, but in a truly awe inspiring way. There was waterfalls all over that made it just seem like water was pouring from all parts of the sky and gathering just before us, and there were waterslides which was crazy fun. The Denver people had A LOT of beers and we all drank and slid, drank and slid and by the end were covered with mud passed out in the sun. today they left early (I don’t know how they got up) and we’re just recuperating a bit at this campsite before we head out. Since Pittsburgh is so close, we’re going to spend the weekend at a friend’s house there. We’re picking Jackie up at the Ross Park Mall (where she works) and then taking her and her Little Sister to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Jackie and I both were Big Sisters together in college so we thought it would be fun to Big Sister together again.

Not that I want to plan to far ahead, but if I want to be in Missouri by the beginning of May, Ryan thinks that we should spend this month exploring Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky, but I also really wanted to go to Minnesota. I have a friend at Lake Maria State Park and I’ve heard beautiful things about that area. Does that make sense? Anyone have any ideas if we have time to head all the way up north before returning to Missouri by May 1?

Ryan says I should include that Kingpin and Silence of the Lambs were both filmed in Pittsburgh. Oh, and Groundhog Day.

Ok, will try and write again soon!

Clearing my head in Maine

I had just been through a horrible divorce that left me feeling broken, distant, and confused. I thought that I had had life all sorted out, until this bombshell landed on me leaving me unsure of what to do next. After some months of sitting in my new apartment all alone, my friends forced me out to some neighborhood bars and restaurants. I started feeling myself reawaken from my deep despair, but somehow felt like I needed to get out and do some exploring on my own in order to completely regain independence and realize that I could in fact live on my own once again. And that’s when I decided it was time for me to plan that trip I never took, to Maine, a place that had always seemed like a beautiful place to visit, but that no one ever wanted to go to with me.

I flew there (from my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona) and rented a car at the airport. I had decided that I would split my time between woodsy nature and beaches. It was June, so I knew I’d be able to appreciate both of these two magical worlds. The first stop I made was at Moosehead Lake. I had rented a little cabin on the lake where I stayed for 2 nights. I spent my days swimming and jogging through the area (I was so out of shape—it felt great to get some energy back!) and my evenings bundled up in my cabin reading one of the many books that I brought at South Portland’s The Maine Mall (my real first stop after I landed in Maine!). Next I went to Baxter State Park where I spent the day hiking with a crowd that I had met in the visitor’s center. From there I went to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor. Acadia National Park really was the ideal place for me, nestled amongst mountains and lakes with hiking and bike trails, but also included the beautiful Sand Beach which provided the coastal relaxing that I had only read in my books.

That was just the beginning of my beach run. I was feeling life coursing through my veins once again and I couldn’t wait to hit the beaches. I had been meeting such interesting people along my way and knew that the crowd would change as my surroundings changed, and I couldn’t wait to see who I would meet next. The beaches in Maine are perfect. I drove up and down the coast, stopping for a few hours or a few days (whatever I was in the mood for!) at Old Orchard Beach, Hills Beach, Ferry Beach State Park, and Popham Beach. I wish you could hear the tone of my thoughts as I type those beaches out. I suppose you could call it wistful? Relaxed? Maybe even happy. I ended the last day of my 12 day trip at Lake St. George State Park where I island hopped and celebrated the nature that was around me.

I think I’m going to do this every year. Maybe not Maine, but somewhere. I’ve always wanted to travel on my own, and I finally did!

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Going West

I feel like I’m going west. Really I’m still in Ulster, in the Catskills. There are many old hotels up here. The Nevele and the old Browns (now an Ashram) all reflect a sort of modern antiquity of lite nostalgia hugging the mountains. Walking through the old town of Ellenville I thought to myself, “how dull life is here, but how perfect.”

I’m after the quiet, the internal respite that is sought, but never found. The autumn colored trees are swaying around me as I write this on a wooden bench, cool fall air touch my cheeks. I think I can get a hitch if I look desperate enough, after all since leaving Mohonk and crossing through Minewaska State park where another mountain lake lies hidden in the sky I made my way all the while sleeping at night outside and that’s where I’ve been the last few nights; in my tent in the woods outside Ellenville. I think its time to go…

Traveling the Crags

There is a hike on the Mohonk Preserve that I used to be scared to do when I was younger. The Crags are series of of whitish-gray limestone rocks jutting out in all directions, running the length of Mohonk Lake. I used to think it was the hardest hike in the world, but today even after my 9 or 10 mile hike from New Paltz passed the Adair winery and up the slopes of Mohonk, the Crags were a bitter sweet experience. I guess my imagination as a child has given way to an adult perception.

I’m sitting writing this in the hotel lobby of the Mohonk Mountain House, a structure built around a century previous that offers luxurous rooms to the wealthy. Mohonk is a beautiful preserve, with horse back riding and hiking and boating on the beautiful mountain lake. The Shawangunks or rather they are known simply in these parts as The Gunks are home to many mountain top lakes, all are beautiful and serene.

Up here I feel at peace and at home. Its a sort of inner feeling where you know there can be no harm at the end of the journey, because the journey is inside. Boy am I tired, and I need to get some sleep. Soon I’ll be traveling on.

Stuck In New Paltz

So I’ve been laid out for a few days. I made it a total 9 plus miles South of Rosendale to the Village of New Paltz. My trip wasn’t easy. I walked along the Rail Trail, which follows the path of the old rail way from farther down state up to Kingston–the capital of Ulster County. The rail trail is a beautiful, easy hike. The trees at this time of the year are covered in their multi colored pastel imagery and the flat trail with its occasional biker is a relaxing sortie into the realm of back pack trekking. My problem came in the form of the black hole called New Paltz. The village has always drawn me, dragged me into its bowels, usually taking some dramatic, climactic event to free me from its drug induced clutches.

I have a few friends in New Paltz and the apartment I am writing in now is theirs. I’ve been here for a few days, stuck in the small apartment overlooking Main Street, which is a gathering for both the “Townies”and college students. There are nine bars on main street and I think my friends dragged me to each one, before finding ourselves back in their apartment. Its a shame I have to move on from this village, there is so much more than drinking to do here, but my trip continues on and now that I am rested from my drinking and my friends all have returned back to work I can move on and truly set myself free from these constraints. My trip planner has come in handy, pointing out with detailed precision my next leg to my journey. Out the window I can see the Mountain chain–The Shawangunks. The odd shaped mountain is called Mohonk. I’ve been there before–many times and today I will begin to go up there. Its about 10 miles from here, but a beautiful hike await me there. Its hills are orange and red now, like a multicolored blanket strewn across the mountains–autumn is in full swing in the midhudson valley.