Friday, July 30, 2010


The Adirondacks Forest Preserve is one of those rare things a government did right, sort of like the U.S.  National Parks. In this case it was the NY state legislature that decided to preserve about 6-million acres in upstate New York. The park is an equal mix of public and private land and it is made up of 42 mountains over 4,000 feet in elevation, 2,800 lakes and ponds, and tens of thousands of brooks and streams, some of them including spectacular rapids and waterfalls. Our base for a few days has been a campground in Wilmington, NY, which is down the road from Whiteface Mountain, the scene of the Alpine events in the 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics. Other venues such as ski jumps and the bobsled track are still used as a training site for the US Olympic team. The arena here was the scene of the famous Miracle on Ice during the 1980 Olympics.

As it happens, we got here a day after the Lake Placid Ironman Triathalon, and its a good thing it was the day after because the bike race went right past the campground and the road was closed all day on the day of the race.


We spent most of one day exploring the awesome Ausable Chasm near Plattsburgh. This is a 2 mile long gorge with incredible water falls and rapids. Although parts of it can be seen from a bridge on a public highway, the Chasm tour is a privately owned operation that bills itself as the oldest tourist attraction in the country. The tour, which is self-guided, is well worth the cost of admission.


The trail through the gorge is made safe with walkways, stairs and bridges. Twice in the history of place as a developed tourist attraction, high water destroyed the walkways which had to be rebuilt. The tour through the chasm has several options including a lantern-lit cave tour, and a less strenuous rim trail which avoids a lot of the stairs, but also avoids a lot of the views.

The tour we selected included a final sectiDSC_0352on floating downstream in a rubber raft. Another option was tubing down the same section of the river, but since we weren’t wearing bathing suits we took the raft trip. It’s not the Snake or Colorado River rapids, more of a leisurely float between the cliffs, but it did provide a different perspective of the chasm and the Ausable River. By the way, the Ausable is one of the major rivers through the northeastern part of the park and there are many picturesque spots visible from the highway.

And speaking of highways, as we entered the park from I-87, our GPS voice kept calling the state  highway we were on “nice highway 86.”  I couldn’t understand why the Tom-Tom thought the highway was nice until I took a closer look at the screen. The text said nys highway 86, for New York State highway 86. Tom apparently pronounced nys: nice.  Nice.


Blogger Barbara said...

Another great adventure, just make sure to stay away from bears. I love reading your blog. Love,

12:10 PM  

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