Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wrapping Up Our 2012 Travels

Today we'll take you on a quick view of our travels in NY, PA and CA to end this year's adventure.  We started with a trip to the Finger Lakes to spend a week in a house right on the shores of Lake Seneca.  Louise's daughter and family joined us for three days and we had lots of fun cooking and canoeing and playing games with the grandkids.  Lisa and Ray have busy academic careers at Cornell, so some of their "playing" was keeping up with their reading on the sunny dock.

It was early October, so the Fall colors were almost at their peak.  We took a short trip into town one day for the kids to let off steam, then on the next day visited Watkins Glen State Park.  What an amazing place!

The leaves were so colorful, whether we were looking down at wet leaves lining the creek, or up high above us.

The combination of hiking and Fall color was so enchanting, we did another "gorge-eous" hike the day after the family left, this time in Robt. Treman State Park.

We made the best of our drive back to Port Jervis NY to catch a train to NYC by following the Susquehanna toward Scranton, along which we took the first photo below, then on to Eales Nature Preserve a little east of Scranton, where we hiked through flaming red cranberry bushes.  For a final commune with nature before leaving the Northeast we visited PEEC, the Poconos Environmental Education Center.  This is a fascinating place that has housing for families and large school groups to spend a few nights understanding the ecology of the Delaware Water Gap and Pocono Mountain region.  We did several miles of self-guided hikes following various colors of blazes, trail guides in hand to read up about the flora and fauna as we went.


Our return to NYC was only long enough to take the subway to Uni-Qlo, a Japanese clothing chain that now has a flagship store on Fifth Avenue, then lunch with Louise's brother Richard, before it was off by air to Berkeley California.  We skipped Amtrak, our preferred mode of travel, as we had a show to catch - Louise's son Brian was in the last week of performances of Chinglish.  We had seen the show in Chicago when Brian was an understudy, but at the Berkeley Rep he was now in the role of Peter, the British business consultant/interpreter.  It was great fun to see Brian onstage, and to see this clever, funny play once again.
Of course we also had a great time watching our son and grandson boogie down Main Street together behind a marching band, then do matching yoga moves.  Later we watched grandson Cedro play for hours with his train set.  He is soooo into trains, we later drove over to Oakland to watch them at the Amtrak station, and the engineer of a train that was due to leave in five minutes invited Brian and Cedro to take a look at the controls, then let Cedro hit the air horn.  Boy, was it loud -- and did we all leap!

Before returning to Seattle we squeezed in one more adventure, a drive by rental car to Marin County to go hiking.  After an exciting drive along the Marin headlands with views of San Francisco, we hiked the Tennessee Valley to Tennessee Cove.

The next day brought us to the 2,571' summit of Mt. Tamalpais, all but the last part of the climb done on twisty roads in our rental car.  It's then only a 15-minute hike to the top.  From 1896 to 1930, however, one could be hauled up there by steam train, then descend in a "gravity car" that had brakes but went fast enough on its 8.1 mile descent to give a thrilling roller coaster-like ride.

We were intrigued by a trail that bore the same name as Jeff's son, the "Matt Davis Trail."  It turned out to be another pleasant hike alternating between forests and grasslands that descended to the Pacific.

The next day we alternated with an urban hike through leafy Belvedere and Tiburon, with its stunning view of San Francisco across the harbor.

Our final destination, for two full days of hiking, was Point Reyes National Park.  Day one was on a trail along the ocean, with lunch looking north to the fog rolling in, and to the south to a precipitous drop-off.

For day two we did a series of shorter hikes, including one to the Point Reyes Lighthouse and its dramatic view to the north (point 4 on the map below), and a final one on what is called the "Earthquake Walk" (point 2 on the map), where we saw a fence that once crossed the San Andreas Fault in a straight line.  As you can see, the land shifted some 15 feet left to right.  It was 1906, in fact the same earthquake that caused so much devastation in San Francisco, 30 miles to the southeast.  Around these parts, there were so few people and buildings that the most serious damage was to a train that got shaken off its tracks.  The San Andreas Fault runs right through the park, and yes, folks, California (or at least this part of it) is indeed drifting off into the sea.


And finally it was time for us to drift on back to Seattle, where after much delay we have finally finished recounting this year's journey.  We hope to see you back here next summer as we take off on another adventure, possibly to Europe and Great Britain.
Happy Trails!

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