"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

August 29, 2017

Texas Pearl Survived

Rockport Harbor

"I have inside me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul." —Paulo Coelho

Just a quick update until I have more time to do a complete post...we survived Hurricane Harvey with only minor damage. 
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August 25, 2017

Waiting for Hurricane Harvey

Rockport Harbor
We drove back to Texas Wednesday night and Thursday so we could check on our house and the Texas Pearl, and be close for any clean up we might need to do. Our son prepared our properties better than we could have ourselves and we're blessed he was here to help. We drove straight to our boat in Rockport to do a few last minute things and take a few personal treasures off the boat, then an hour back to our home...43 hours without sleep. I think running a marathon might have been easier. 

These pictures where taken on Tuesday as Eric was putting on more lines. What a beautiful evening and boat...our neighborhood will not be the same soon.
Our last look at Texas Pearl
We've been tracking the storm for days...the hurricane watch is now in the waiting mode. Everything is ready and there's nothing more we can do except wait and see...and hope and pray for the best. We'll let you know. 

The projected paths have changed some but our boat has been in the center the whole time...not looking good
More tracking maps from early this morning...should come ashore early tonight.
Satilite photo from about 11:30 this morning

August 22, 2017

Excelsior Glen

Allan H. Treman State Marine Park

"Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change." —Wayne Dyer

Last Saturday while we were in the Watkins Glen area we hiked to Excelsior Falls. It’s located just east of town off of Highway 414, easy to find but not visited by many. Most visitors in this area go the amazing Watkins Glen State Park, which is very impressive. We hiked that glen in 2014 and loved it, but we like finding little gems that other people overlook. Somewhere we don’t have to fight a crowded or be rushed to move on. The trail begins right off the road with a small over grown path that over looks the creek about 30’ below. This trail disappears as it passes a boulder-choked chute where the river is only about a foot wide. This chute feeds a pretty good drop, but isn’t considered one of the waterfalls in this glen, although we thought the little canyon was very impressive. 

The water coming out of the narrow chute at the top of the trail.
The narrow chute at the beginning of the trail 
The water shoots through this small cut to the creek below
The Excelsior Glen trail map - the red line is the path we took
From this point we walked in the creek to the first waterfall. The only way from here to get back to the trail and on to the second waterfall was to scamper up a very steep embankment on the left side of the falls. After the initial climb, which seemed to be straight up, the trail leveled off and followed the creek; actually we walked in the creek bed much of the way. 

The first waterfall
The hill we climbed up to get to the rest of the trail...you can see the first waterfall behind the trees at the bottom right.
The trail ends at the second falls, where the surrounding cliffs rise about 90’. It was a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the complete solitude of the area. There was even a small pool at the bottom of the falls were we could have gone for a swim. The cliffs were much too steep to continue on to the third waterfall from here, so we made our way back down the creek to our car. Maybe one afternoon we’ll come back and take the Finger Lakes Trail that goes along the top of this gorge to the third falls.

The trail
Small falls along the way 
The second waterfall at the end of the trail
Looking up at the falls from the pool
 We saw this view on our way back to the car. It's from the top of the trail above the first falls...this is Seneca Lake,
This isn't my video but it gives a good feeling of the glen that the pictures fail to do.

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August 21, 2017

Aug. 19 – Havana Glen

Allan H. Treman State Marine Park

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot…” –Aldo Leopold 

Saturday we drove over to Seneca Lake to check out the Windmill Market. Friends have been telling us about it, so we thought we’d check it out. The Windmill Farm & Craft Market is one of the largest markets in upstate New York and is celebrating its 30th anniversary. There are over 175 vendors selling just about everything you can think of…from fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, wine, jewelry, home décor, collectibles, handcrafted items, clothing and food booths serving all kinds of treats. It was a fun place to spend a morning.
This area of upstate New York has a large Amish community and a lot of Amish farms sell produce and cheese items at this market. There's even a special parking area just for their buggies .
This was the best bakery booth at the market...wonderful things at unbelievable prices. 
Not everything in Texas is bigger...these veggies are huge. I know it's hard to tell from these pictures, but these items are much larger than the normal veggies. The cauliflower and melons were as big as soccer balls. The little red pepper in the upper left is normal size...so just imagine how large the green peppers are. I sure wish this market was closer to Ithaca...I would shop here every week.
This tomato is larger than the meat and the bun...and so good!
While we were in the area we drove down to the town of Montour Falls to check out the short hike and waterfalls at Havana Glen Park. Eagle Cliff Falls is located within the quaint city park of Havana Glen, it's the product of McClure Creek cascading 40’ over the shale cliffs of the deep gorge, the wide plume, nearly 20 feet across, plunges through a notch in the rock wall into an emerald pool, before continuing along its multi-tiered course over a series of ledges.

The beginning of the Havana Glen hike
Our first look at the Eagle Cliff Falls
The hike is only .3 miles along the banks of McClure Creek surrounded by the steep-sided walls of the limestone cliffs; there's a series of staircases that take you to a small trail and through the creek into a rock amphitheater where Eagle Cliff Falls is center stage. You can cross the creek to the base of the falls where you can wade directly under the falling water. It's a beautiful area and the falls were very nice even though there isn’t a lot of water this time of year. The only drawback is the crowd of people in the park and on the trail…we enjoy more remote spots, but we're glad we took the time to see this waterfall.

This is the end of the trail across from the falls
Eagle Cliff Falls
After we did a couple of short hikes Stan did a little fishing in Cayuta Creek.
Storm's coming...time to go home
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August 20, 2017

Aug. 17 - Ithaca, NY

Allan H. Treman State Marine Park

“Change is the process by which the future invades our lives.” —Alvin Toffler

Today we drove up the lake to Beacon Bay Marina in Cayuga to sign the contact for our winter storage. The marina is located at the top of the lake, by staying on the lake we won't have to worry about the Erie Canal schedule or closures. At the moment we are planning to put the boat up the first week in October. 

Beacon Bay Marina
The long building on the left side of the picture is used for inside storage. They don't have enough room for us. We'll be outside. 
Ariel views of Beacon Bay Marina in Cayuga, NY
After taking care of boat business we drove over to Seneca Lake to have lunch at Ginny Lee Café. It's located on the grounds of Wagner Vineyards. Wagner Vineyards is one of the oldest and most recognized wineries in the Finger Lakes and has been one of the region’s most popular wine tasting destinations since 1979. The Ginny Lee Café opened in 1983 and offers diners the opportunity to enjoy a freshly prepared menu selections while overlooking one of the most spectacular views in the Finger Lakes region.   
This was our incredible view with lunch...hard to beat spending a few hours enjoying this view on such a beautiful day.
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August 18, 2017

Aug. 16 - Lick Brook Falls

Allan H. Treman State Marine Park

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.” —Natalie Babbitt.

Stan has been doing a little work on our teak this week. He's been repairing a few worn spots, a few coats of Cetol and we'll look like new. Each coat goes on quickly and it leaves us plenty of time to play. Today we decided to hike the Lick Brook Falls Trail. 

A map of our hike. We hike down the Lick Brook trail and then came back around the loop trail. The loop trail ran along a ridge next to the creek with the slides. It was narrow with large drop offs on each side.
Lick Brook is in the Sweedler Preserve and has been a favorite picnic and hiking spot since the 1800's. This small beautiful gorge is protected by the Finger Lake Land Trust. There are two large falls and many smaller ones along the hike, although they were almost dry today. This isn't the best time of year to see the falls at their best, but the low flow of water gave us a chance to actually hike the gorge itself instead of staying on the main trail. My favorite type of hiking is through the water. It would be a great spot to spend a warm day just relaxing with my feet in the water. 

Walking in the gorge
I love the way the rocks just break away...looking like someone built or wall or cut the rock so straight.
Enjoying the gorge...if the water was higher we would be sitting in the creek.
At this point we had to go back up to the trail...after the second ledge in this picture the cliff drops off about 100'.
Looking down at the first big drop
Part of the trail...sections were very steep and others very narrow.
At the bottom of the second large falls...there was very little water coming over the falls, but it was a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the sight.
Crossing a creek on the loop trail on our way back to the car.
We found this bench and stool along the Spur Trail that leads back to Buttermilk Falls State Park. It over looks another portion of Lick Brook.
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