Playing leapfrog with other visitors to the Watkins Glen State Park, trying to get into or avoid each other’s photographs, became a game. Fun for the first mile or so. It soon became clear, we should do this alone. When we had the full park to ourselves. At sunrise next morning. Which we did.
Being in the campground a quarter mile away helped. Sunrise at a little before 5:00am did not. The park is technically not even open that early but as there are no entry barriers and we are grown-ups, off we went. I love my long-suffering wife for letting me drag her along on these shenanigans. I owe her cookies.
Why Stairway To Heaven?
I call this one Stairway To Heaven as these steps carved out of the solid rock of the gorge wall just never seem to end. According to the official State Park site there are 832 of them. Compare that with 199 up to the Abbey in Whitby, England, my old stomping grounds. This gorge is not a loop trail, so you don’t end up back in the place from which you set off. Oh no. That would be too easy. When you get to the end… you turn round and come back. For those that are paying attention that’s 832 steps back down, if you retrace your route. You can choose to switch across to the other side of the gorge in places during the return journey, though I doubt the step count is significantly affected. Rumour has it they have cookies on the other side, though. Must investigate.
In a more poetic mien, I reflect that the stairway to any heaven is a hard path, filled with tears. The tears poetically here cascading down upon our two intrepid pilgrims. Life. It’s hard. And that’s a fact.
All you can do it take it one step at a time. Onward.
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Prints available for all images by request.