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Konquering Keuka!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

There were around 330 of us at our Great Finger Lakes Bike Tour this year...which marked its THIRTIETH (WOW!) anniversary!

We were tucked away in the Hidden Valley Campgrouds within Watkins Glen State Park. As many may know, Watkins Glen is known for its racing and NASCAR events. You could hear them going it throughout the day over the hill...sounding like a swarm of angry hornets! Some of the roads we biked were part of the first Watkins Glen International Speedway...hard to believe these roads which were either twisting up / down valleys or straightaways through open fields could have been the scene of such mayhem! It was all so serene and peaceful (away from the track!).

The first day I biked up and down the east side of Seneca Lake from Watkins Glen along past MANY different wineries and vineyards. During a couple of stops I had a chance to chat with some pleasant cyclists who had come all the way from Windsor, Ontario! Total miles for Saturday were 38.

Vineyards overlooking Seneca Lake north of Watkins Glen

Hector Falls north of Watkins Glen

Hector Falls emptying into Seneca Lake

That afternoon a fellow member of SparkPeople (TEAMAEGIS) who is ALSO a member of the bike club was giving another walking tour of Watkins Glen. I have walked the glen in the past, but it had been a while and I appreciated the opportunity to share our stories while re-visiting such beautiful sites of nature!

Watkins Glen

Saturday had been HOT and increasingly MUGGY...the bank thermometer in Watkins Glen put the temp @ 86! But it felt SO NICE to catch up with some SUNSHINE!

That night I think I had the longest sleep I'd seen in many moons...! There was a raffle @ 8 pm...finished dinner @ 7 pm. Back at the cabin the sleepies struck. I thought, hey, I'll just rest a bit until it's time for the raffle. Didn't wake up until the next morning 6 pm! Whew WEE was that ever GREAT!

Sunday's weather was a whole different story! By the time we had breakfast, packed and left the campgrounds for Hammondsport the rains had begun! It was like being back in Georgia again! TORRENTIAL rains, nearly forcing us to pull over to the side of the road at times!

It was still raining steadily when we arrived at Keuka Lake and I was like...don't think I'm up for biking in THIS! So we killed some time by driving around the lake to see the route I would bike IF the rain let up!

That was when we saw multiple washouts of mud & stone strewn across the road in a number of spots. UGH! But I was like...well, maybe by the time we circle round the lake...? The rain DID let up and there was only a light, off & on drizzle:

Misty, foggy, post-torrential Keuka Lake

I just KNEW there would be no LIVING with myself if I didn't get out there and NAIL that route 'round the lake! So off I went! Keuka Lake is shaped like a large "Y" with Hammondsport at the bottom of the stem, Branchport at the left tip of the "Y" and Penn Yan at the right tip. The route was 44 miles IF one travels directly from Branchport to Penn Yan, 57 miles if one undertook the bluff route traveling down and up the inside of the "Y"...and this route has a notorious hill to negotiate. Our bike club president says: "I never met a hill I couldn't...walk up!" :-)

Because the time was running tight and I didn't want to stay TOO late I vetoed the bluff run...saving that for another day!

One of the special joys of the ride up the west side of the lake was the run-off of the rains which had just pounded down. On my right was Keuka and on my left were rocky embankments through which every 100 yards or so a mini-waterfall cut through the stone...a treat for my eyes and ears!

This weekend reminded me yet one more time how blessed we are to have such beauty in our backyard here in rural upstate New York!

Hope everyone in our SparkFamily is doing well and alive & thriving on into the wonderful summer months!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:

    My daughter graduated from Ithaca College and reading your blog post made me remember how much fun it was hiking at all the State Parks!
The Finger Lakes area is fantastic for camping (Tremain) hiking (Buttermilk) and paddling (Keuka).

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GOANNA2 6/24/2010 4:47PM

    What amazing scenery. Thanks for sharing.
Glad you got some sleep.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 6/22/2010 12:06PM

    What a great accomplishment and beautiful scenery to add to it. Thanks for sharing your experience and pics. You are so inspiring, keep up the fantastic work.

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JEAN_W 6/22/2010 7:12AM

    I've walked at Watkins Glen! Beautiful scenery. I think I swam there, too, but that might have been another glen.

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    That sounds like a really great ride. I am glad you enjoyed it.

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USARUNNERGIRL 6/21/2010 1:50PM

    How awesome Don. Those pictures were so beautiful. I am glad that you came, you saw, and you conquered!!! Woot.

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JCORYCMA 6/20/2010 11:16PM

    Thanks so much for sharing the beautiful pictures, Don! It makes me long for the days that we lived in your beautiful state! Biking was an awesome way to enjoy the scenery.

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GR8CATSBY 6/20/2010 9:28PM

    Great pictures, Don!!!!
Last year I biked in the Watkins Glen area - starting off with the steep hill on the east side of Seneca Lake (79 into 414). And a few years ago I did the inside of the Y of Keuka Lake, including going up to Garrett Chapel (THAT was a nasty hill!). The hills are worth every drop of sweat, since the scenery is so nice once you get to the top.

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L*I*T*A* 6/19/2010 7:17PM

    what an awesome adventure!!!
thanks for sharing these great pictures...........
blessings and hugs.............lita

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HEARTOLOVE 6/19/2010 2:40PM

    Wow!! You sound like you really enjoyed your bike ride in the countryside!! I'm glad to see you are doing good. We miss you on Health Professionals! Take Care and enjoy your summer!

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SVELTINGTON 6/19/2010 9:33AM

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures; sounds like you had a great time.

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DAYHIKER 6/19/2010 8:43AM

    Welcome back, Don! What a great trip and a great blog and pictures!! Congratulations on sticking with that ride even in the pouring rain! Glad you got a good sleep and glad you are back blogging--missed ya!!


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LUREAH21 6/19/2010 8:42AM

    Sounds like it was wonderful!

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DINGALLSTOO 6/19/2010 8:31AM

    there's not many places prettier or more diverse than NYS!! Great pics.

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FERRETLOVER1 6/19/2010 8:29AM

    Wow - thank you for sharing those amazing photos! Especially loved the Watkins Glen one. You really are lucky to have this beautiful location right in your backyard!

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FRECKS96 6/19/2010 7:38AM

    Sounds amazing!! I can't wait to get up that way this summer.

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CARRIE1948 6/19/2010 7:35AM

    Quite an adventure

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SUZANNERN 6/19/2010 4:17AM

    thanks for posting! the pics are beautiful... made me miss home! emoticon

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COLOURFULME 6/19/2010 3:08AM

    I love nature wish I had it closer. Every time I visit my page I feel relaxed looking at the green and greens.
Could I copy that huge waterfall from in your blog Hector's falls? Would like to add it to my photogalary. If it is not possible no problem.....:)
Enjoy your weekend.

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MIZZSB 6/19/2010 1:44AM

    WOW it looks gorgeous!

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