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Saturday, August 24, 2013

I had an opportunity to do a little photography in upstate PA and NY recently and thought I would just share a couple images for you.  First I visited the Wellsboro area where I spent a great deal of my early life growing up.  There are many opportunities for photographs in this area especially during the fall peak color, but this day I found myself, my brother and his son walking down the Turkey Path located at the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.  This canyon is really just a simple gorge that winds threw a few mountains, but none the less it is a beautiful attraction and well worth the visit.  At the bottom of the canyon there is a small river called Pine Creek where as a child I spent many hours trying to catch trout and Small Mouth Bass with my grandfather. I rarely caught any fish, but my grandfather could catch fish even on the worst of days.

About a half mile down the Harrison Park Turkey Path there is a creek running along the trail called Four Mile Creek.  Since this creek is running off the side of the mountain it creates a series of cascading waterfalls surrounded by moss covered rocks. Eventually Four Mile runs all the way down the mountain and empties into Pine Creek.  Although the water flow was a bit low, I did manage to grab a few shots.  What I really like about the shot below is the extreme green caused by the rich soil and large amount of rainfall earlier in the summer.  The cascading water provides a serene scene.  Sorry the resolution is kind of poor here.

Four Mile Creek Falls, Pennsylvania Grand Canyon - © Matt Cuda 2013


Next, Rick, Thomas and I headed up to a park where I had never visited.  The park is called Letchworth State Park and it is no doubt on my top ten list of places to go back and visit for fall color.  The park, is located in the north western region of New York state and is known for a large gorge winding its way through many miles of the park.  At the base of the gorge runs the beautiful Genesee River.  I have to admit when we saw this gorge we all were in total amazement at the shear raw beauty laid out before us.  The gorge is highlighted by three large waterfalls called upper, middle and lower falls. If you enjoy viewing powerful falls then this is the place for you.  All three of these falls are utterly amazing.  My only complaint at this park is that we were not allowed access to the creek river bed.  I have to admit this doesn't surprise me as New York has always been the land of silly and useless laws.  Below is a shot of middle falls looking down the gorge.  This park appears to have been designed for upper middle class to higher class individuals and there are many amenities here to prove that.  It is not often that one can find ice cream stands, inns and museums in the rugged mountains.  There is also a fairly modest 8.00 per car price tag for entry into the park, but considering NY citizens are footing the bill for the park, I thought any charge is kind of sad really.

Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park - © Matt Cuda 2013

Upper Falls along the Genesee River - © Matt Cuda 2013


In conclusion, if you enjoy nature, then don't miss either of these parks.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  To view these images in better resolution, and see other park images,  feel free to visit my flicker site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/44128780@N08/

Sunday, August 11, 2013

South Mountains State Park - a Well Kept Secret

When telling people I was going to head down to South Mountains State Park, I got a strange look as if they had never heard of such a place.  It is true that although it is common to hear others talk about places like Grandfather Mountain and Linville Falls, I never hear anything about South Mountains State Park.  This is really a shame since this park has so much to offer to those who love the outdoors.

First, the park has many miles of great trout fishing streams containing predominately Brook Trout and Browns but I am told there are also Rainbows there as well.  These creeks are full of large boulders, rippling cascades and lined with many different species of trees.

One of many beautiful locations along the trail at South Mountain State Park
Photo by Matt Cuda (c) 2013
Next, if you enjoy horseback riding there are wide trails cut through the woods to accommodate horses.  The way these trails have been created seem to make it easy  for any skill of rider.  There is a dedicated parking area for horse trailers and easy trail access for them.

For the hiker, there are endless options in this park.  I counted 19 trails total and I am sure there are others which are not part of the official list of trails. The length of the trails run from .5 to 5.2 miles and have various difficulty ratings.  Raven rock trail seems to be the most difficult as it zigzags through several switchbacks up the mountain.  If you only have time for one trail, I recommend you head up the High Shoals Falls Loop.  This is a somewhat difficult trail which takes you to the awe inspiring High Shoals Falls.  The view is well worth the hike.

High Shoals Falls
Photo by Matt Cuda (c) 2013
In conclusion, I cannot find anything that needs improvement in this facility.  It is one of the best I have seen in North Carolina and would take many visits to discover all it has to offer.  My best advice is to stop by the park office and ask them the best parking areas and what is good during the time of year you are visiting.  Otherwise you might end up taking a trail that takes you away from the sites you wanted to see and leaves you exhausted.


A cascade near the bottom of High Shoals Falls.
Photo by Matt Cuda (c) 2013