Posted in: Hiking, National Park, National Parks

Sleeping Bear Dunes: Sleeping Bear Point Trail

We picked the Sleeping Bear Point Trail to hike in the park. It was listed as a moderate trail, but less strenuous than the Dune Hill Climb. It was a 2.8 mile trail loop. We did the trail clockwise, as the app stated that it was a little easier that way.

We started in a grassy forest type of area. I would wear long socks or stay in the middle of the trail, as there was poison ivy along most of that part of the trail.

We did see some great views of the water along the hike. One of the reasons we picked this trail was the “ghost forest”. The dunes shift and over time the trees that become covered in sand will die. There were a handful of trees, but not what I would think of a forest.

Hiking on sand is no joke! We were all pretty tired at the end, but the kids of course had a lot more energy. If you take this hike, bring water, a hat, and sunscreen. Once you leave the tree area, there is no shade.

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Hiking, National Park, National Parks, Sightseeing

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

This was the last National Park on our current route. The name of the park seems sweet, but it is a horribly sad tale. I read two different versions. A mother and her cubs are forced to flee from wildfire into the Lake and have to swim to the other side. The cubs do not make it. The mother bear lays down waiting for her cubs. The other version is that there was a food shortage, and to keep from starving they had to cross the lake. The cubs do not make it. The two small islands pop up as monuments for the cubs.

The main visitor center, Phillip A Hart Visitor Center, was located in Empire, Michigan. It was not in the park. The park boundaries are actually made of 3 sections of land with towns in between and 2 islands. We drove around the park in a few locations, but only saw a ticket/pass booth at the Dune Climb parking lot.

On our first visit, we drove the Pierce Stocking Scenic Dr. I’m sure it had wonderful views, but all we could see was fog! (It hadn’t been foggy at our campground, about 30 minutes away). There was a small covered bridge that was fun to see.

There were several hiking and bike trails in the park, along with beach areas.

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Hiking, Sightseeing

Deep Lock Quarry Trail

We found this trail on AllTrails app. The Deep Lock Quarry Metro Park was next to the National Park, so we only had to drive a couple of minutes to get to this trail.

The trail was about 1.4 miles, although we added a little bit on with a side trail. It had a few informational signs about things along the trail. There were remains of Quaker Oat millstones, the remains of sandstone blocks from a loading dock, bases of old derricks used to load boats/trains.

Quarry Trail Signs
click to enlarge

There was the old quarry as well. You could see the layers of cut out rocks.

We took a side trail to see Lock 28, which was the deepest lock of the Ohio Erie Canal and was nicknamed Deep Lock. The lock was a little overgrown, but still easily seen. It was really neat to see the remains of the canal system.

Lock 28 Signs
click to enlarge

Beaver Island State Park (Grand Island, NY)

We were out exploring the island and stopped at Beaver Island State Park. Normally there is an entrance fee, but there was a sign that said that since there was no attendant on duty, there was no fee. It was located on Grand Island, so it was just a short drive.

This park had a marina, a small beach area, a concessions area (only open on the weekends per the sign on the window), and a Frisbee golf course. The park also had a playground and picnic area by the beach.

It was a decent park, but there were a ton of flying bugs.

Bottom right: Bug swarm “cloud” in front of the trees
Posted in: Animal Sightings, Hiking, Sightseeing

Quechee Gorge

This was a neat spot to find. The Gorge is part of the Quechee State Park. You can park at the Gorge Visitor Center and walk to see the Gorge for free. I believe there is a small fee to get into the rest of the state park.

The Quechee Gorge was amazing to walk over. The bridge had cut-outs in the fencing to allow for picture taking. There were a few trails near the Visitor Center, including the one we took to go down to the river.

Views from the bridge of the Gorge

There were a lot of people hanging out near the river. Some had chairs that they placed on the rocks, others had picnics. There were both dogs and people swimming. We saw a frog, lots of tadpoles, a couple of small fish and crabs. The boys had shorts on, so they went swimming in the river. It was a hot day, so I’m sure it felt good.

The River. We saw a lot of tadpoles and the boys swam in the shallows.
Posted in: Hiking, Sightseeing

Hiking Maine: Salt Pond Preserve

One of our last trails of our stay in Maine was actually a trail outside of Acadia National Park. The boys got to pick form my list on AllTrails app, so of course they picked a short one at .9 miles. Following the AllTrails app directions, there was a very small parking spot off the road with only room for 1-2 cars. However, we later learned that there was also an access road with some parking options (Trail Map/Parking Options).

The path through the woods was an easy path, but had plenty of roots to keep an eye out for. Along the trail we saw a beautiful wild orchid called a lady’s slipper. The trail ended up on the water. We walked along the beach and saw some sea gulls eating a crab. We doubled the length of the hike by walking on the beach, which was really fun. The boys loved climbing on the rocks.

Posted in: Hiking, National Park, National Parks

Hiking Acadia National Park: Jordan Pond Trail

Ben and I walked part of the Jordan Pond trail on a date day, but it was a foggy, rainy day, so we didn’t get too far as neither one of us wanted to slip on the rocks.

A few days later, we walked the whole trail with the boys (about 3.4 miles). The trail is really nice and follows along the edge of the pond. Standing behind Jordan Pond House looking at the lake, the right side of the path is mostly dirt with a few rock step-overs for water run off. Eventually you cross a really cute bridge. A little bit after the bridge, you will come to the rocky section, where you have to climb over a rock path. This part of the trail is a little trickier, especially if the rocks are wet at all. After the rocky section, you will come to the boardwalk section of the path.

The boardwalk was not quite wide enough for people to pass each other, but there were wider sections for people to stand off to the side to allow people to pass.

It was a nice trail, and relatively easy. The scenery was beautiful as well.

Posted in: Hiking, National Park, National Parks

Hiking Acadia: Homans and Emery Paths

School is winding down. The boys and I decided to take a hike in Acadia. Well, ok…I decided to drag them away from video games for a hike. I found one that was listed as easy on the AllTrails app, but looked like it might keep them occupied. It was a combination of two trails, Homans and Emery. I would say this trail was more towards the moderate level since it was mostly stone steps in both directions.

There were a couple of spots where the trail narrowed or you might have to duck down to get through. It was still a nice trail with some great views at the top. You could see a creek winding through a meadow, the town below, and the ocean. Nick liked all the rocks to climb and only hurt himself 2 or 3 times.

It was a neat trail, but not one to do if you have knee or ankle problems. My ankle twinged a few times even with hiking boots on.

Posted in: Campground Review, National Parks, Sightseeing

Timothy Lake South RV: Campground Review

Have you ever heard of East Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania? We hadn’t either! We stayed in Timothy Lake South RV Campground in East Stroudsburg, in the Poconos.

The campground offered quite a few pull-throughs and some back-ins. The back-in sites seemed mostly along the edges of the campground. Many of the pull-throughs were very long. We could have stayed hooked up to the truck it was so long. They were a little on the narrow side though. There were plenty of trees throughout the campground, so once the trees have all their leaves, I’m sure it will be quite shaded.

Click to enlarge

The campground had a laundry room and office/store. However, the store was closed for COVID. You could walk up to the check-in window to buy ice ($3/bag) and firewood. The campground had a sister site, Timothy Lake North, whose amenities you could also use (per the website, we did not go).

Laundry was $2.00 for washers (or $2.25 for super wash) and $1.75 for dryers. The laundry room was limited to 1 person at a time and you had to check out the key from the check-in window. Reservations were not accepted. They did not have quarters/change machine, although the machines were quarter run.

Our Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile were spotty around the campground and the mountain areas. We ended up paying for the campgrounds WiFi for the week to make sure we could connect for work and school. Even their internet was spotty at times. It was also not a very fast internet.

The campground was 12 minutes from Super Foodtown grocery store and 16 minutes from Price Chopper grocery store. There were several restaurants within a 20 minute drive. The Delaware Water Gap was also close (12 minutes to a close trail or 25-30 minutes to the hike we went on).

Getting There: I would take it slow on these roads. The roads are pretty narrow to fit two cars (especially one being a truck and RV) around some of the turns. The roads are hilly and twisty as well.

If you enjoy quiet with no electronics and lots of nature and hiking, you may enjoy this location. However, everything was closed in the campground (not including the laundry room) and there was just not a lot of things to do besides hiking (or kayaking if you had your own). We would not stay here again. If things were open, maybe it would have been a different experience.

SUMMARY OF CAMPGROUND:

Our rating: 2 out of 5 hitches

Cell Phone Reception: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile (all of our connections were slow/spotty depending on where we were in the park)

Laundry: Yes

Bathrooms/Showers: Yes

RV Sites: Pull-through and Back-in (grass)

Pop Up Tents/Gazebos/Outdoor Rugs On-Site: Yes

Amenities: picnic table/fire pit/grill at sites, playground, pool (closed for season while we were there), shuffleboard. (Paid for cable and WiFi)

Cabins: Yes

Tent Camping: No (sister site Timothy Lake North does)

Full Hook-ups: Yes

            Amps: 20/30/50

Pool: Yes

Food On-Site: No

Camp Store: Yes, closed due to COVID

WiFi: No free WiFi, Paid WiFi (a little slow, not what I would call high-speed internet)

Accepts Mail: No

Fishing: No

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Hiking, National Park, National Parks, Sightseeing

Delaware Water Gap & The Appalachian Trail

We’ve moved to Pennsylvania and although pretty, there were not many activities close to the campground except hiking.

For Mother’s Day, we headed to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to go on a hike. The Delaware Water Gap is an elongated park, and we were hiking to Mount Minsi, which was towards the bottom of the park. The park had several hiking trails and a beach area.

I used our trail app and found the Mount Minsi via Appalachian Trail hike. It was supposed to be 5 miles, listed as moderate, and followed part of the Appalachian Trail. Ben has wanted to hike part of the Appalachian Trail for a while, so we wanted to take advantage of the fact that it was pretty close by (about a 30 minute drive). I looked at the pictures and thought it didn’t look too bad and it had great reviews. (Spoiler: I was wrong.)

The trail was a lot more crowded in on the way up than we expected. There was a small parking lot by the trailhead that was almost completely full. There was also a smaller lot a little up the hill, which was also full. I thought that on Mother’s Day, that it wouldn’t be that busy, but I was wrong. It still wasn’t super packed, but still had about 30 people pass us.

Now, I know I already gave the spoiler that I was wrong about the trail difficulty. Our hike ended up being 5.6 miles (Ben’s tracker said 5.8 miles and I did accidentally pause the recorder at one point on mine, so somewhere in that range) with an elevation gain of 1086 feet. My theory was that people were too busy trying not to trip and fall that they didn’t take pictures of the hard parts for their reviews. 😉 The trail was mostly a loop, which we always like in a hike. It started as an out and back, then splits to the right and left. We ended up taking the right side of the path, which probably is the only reason we finished the hike. The left side was a lot more narrow, rockier and had more climbing (at least for my shorter legs) over rocks. Either way, you are climbing uphill and coming downhill on the way back.

Parts of the trail

There are bears in the area, so we did bring our bear spray. We did not see any though. We heard birds, but the only wildlife we saw were several millipedes along the trail. We looked them up when we got home and discovered they were the ironworm/American Giant Millipede.

The top of the trail has two lookouts, and I would recommend seeing both since you are already there. The first overlooks a neat rocky hillside and has a nice space to sit and take a break. The second lookout also has a few nice large rocks to overlook the Delaware River.

Views along the trail

I’m glad we did it, although we (especially the adults) were exhausted at the end. Ben and I were sore even the next day. Hikes like this one make me miss having a tub to soak our feet in!

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: Free, except for beach or river access. COVID Restrictions: Visitor Centers closed, masks required
  • HOURS: Most is open 24 hours, per website
  • PARKING: Yes, but some lots are small
  • BATHROOM: Not at trailhead. Visitor Centers are closed, although we did see a bathroom that was open on the other side of the Bushkill Meeting Center.
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-4 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.