Monday, June 21, 2021

An Overnight in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Picnic Woods Road

Lycoming County is in the section of Pennsylvania 
referred to as the Pennsylvania Wilds. 
Who doesn't love wild?

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Farm in Lycoming County

We planned our time around 
the county seat of Lycoming County:  
Williamsport 
and the 
McIntyre Wild Area 
(for our dose of Wild)

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Old Schoolhouse in Lycoming County


If Williamsport sounds vaguely familiar, 
it is probably because this is where the 
Little League World Series is held. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Lycoming County


There are a lot of outdoor activities based around 
the many state lands. 
I did some research and chose the 
McIntyre Wild Area 
because that was the area with 
the greatest number of options 
that I thought would be of interest to us. 
And it was interesting, 
to say the least. 

Anyway, we drove directly to the Frazier Covered Bridge. 


Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Lycoming County

Since we were arriving from the southeast 
the bridge was 'on the way.' 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Frazier Covered Bridge

The bridge is no longer open to vehicular traffic 
and is accessed by a little road that cuts through a farm. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Frazier Covered Bridge

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Frazier Covered Bridge


From there I planned to photograph a Country Church
AKA Old Moreland Baptist Church. 
We found the new Moreland Baptist Church 
but our T Mobile gps service 
wasn't working 
as is usual in more remote places. 
So we never found the Old Church.  
(We only have t mobile for Europe. 
but obviously haven't gone since Covid began.) 
Sigh. 

We then went to the McIntyre Wild Area
located 30 min north of Williamsport. 
We located the Miners Run Waterfall 
which can be seen just off of Rock Run Road. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Miners Run Waterfall 

From the Miners Run Falls 
you can climb up the stream bed (no trail)
and see 5 additional falls within .6 mi. 
The best directions to do this are here. 


Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Miners Run Waterfall 

As far as photographing the falls, 
I was with my husband...(enough said)
and I did not carry a tripod 
since with the husband in tow 
I would not have had the time to set up 
and photograph like a real photographer. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Miners Run Waterfall 

Not to be too hard on him because 
the conditions were not right for good photos anyway. 
The dappled sunlight created bright brights and dark darks. 
I did have an 10 stop ND filter 
but it if fell off into the water, 
which I retrieved because said husband refused to, 
but now the glass was foggy 
so I didn't use it. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Miners Run Waterfall 


After our rigorous hike up 
we decided to take a McIntyre Rd to the Band Park Vista. 
Oh boy, this WAS wild. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
The McIntyre "Road" 


The road was possibly a road decades ago,  
now it is a crater like abandoned path. 
I DO NOT recommend doing this with 
any vehicle that does not have 
high clearance and AWD or 4WD! 
Between the dappled light and the puddles 
we had a hard time seeing the craters 
and no idea how deep they were until we were in them.  

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Band Rock Vista

Close to the vista the 'road' has a loop. 
We parked the car there and walked the rest of the way. 
That was a very good decision 
as the road gets even worse. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Band Rock Vista

The view was beautiful 
and the weather spectacular! 
The view from here is 180 degrees. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Band Rock Vista

Two roads of the McIntyre Wild Area


From here we went back to Williamsport 
and check into the Holiday Inn Express (good experience there)
conveniently located near the 
Riverfront Path of the West Branch Susquehanna River. 
We road our bikes on the path. 

West Branch Susquehanna River Path in red. 


Followed by a ride down Millionaires' Row lining 4th Street,
The homes once belonged to the Lumber Barons of Williamsport.
If you love residential architecture
Millionaires' Row will make you swoon.

Copyright Rebecca Haegele

Copyright Rebecca Haegele

Up next was dinner at Boom City Brewing Company.
After dinner, we blindly set out to find a good spot for sunset 
and fortunately found Picnic Woods Road 
over looking a farmed valley. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Sunset, Jersey Shore PA

It was soooo worth it. 
The clouds were amazing. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Sunset, Jersey Shore PA

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Sunset, Jersey Shore PA

Day 2 began with another bike ride. 
This time we road 31 miles 
on the beautiful 
which we accessed via a small town curiously called 
15 mi west of Williamsport.

The photos speak for themselves: 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Pine Creek Rail Trail 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Pine Creek Rail Trail 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Pine Creek Rail Trail 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Pine Creek Rail Trail 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Pine Creek Rail Trail 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Pine Creek Rail Trail 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Pine Creek Rail Trail 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Pine Creek Rail Trail 

Yes, all 31 miles were worth it as well. 
When we returned to Williamsport 
we took a trolley tour (cash only, recommend exact change)
which explained much of the history of Williamsport 
and we saw a lot of things we would have 
otherwise missed. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Mansions in Williamsport

There are more beautiful homes located 
off the beaten path of Millionaires Row. 
You can find them near 
Belmont Ave & Campbell St. 
and 
Grampian Blvd & Franklin St. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Mansions in Williamsport



Copyright Rebecca Haegele

The trolley tour also includes 
past and present Little League information. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
First Little League Game Statue

If you can do this tour, 
do it early in your trip 
then you can revisit the things 
that interest you. 

Copyright Rebecca Haegele
Brick carvings depicting transportation modes 

After our Trolley Tour 
we ate a late lunch at 
Bullfrog Brewery. 
(The portabella mushroom sandwich 
was the best I've ever had.) 
Then we left for home. 

Here are additional ideas you can trade out 
or add to your itinerary: 

  1. In Williamsport at the intersection of 3rd & Market Street there is a "Bases Loaded" sculpture installation depicting a little league field using each corner, then located throughout the town you will see an occasional outfielder.  It is really cute.  I didn't know about this until the trolley tour and then it was too late for me to go back and photograph it. 
  2. A few interesting sites to watch for throughout the town: St James Ep. Church, Williamsport City Hall, English Center Suspension Bridge, The Old Jail (now a night club)
  3. Two additional covered bridges we didn't see: Buttonwood and Cogan House.
  4. Hiawatha Riverboat. We just didn't have the time but the weather was so beautiful it would have been lovely to do.
  5. Lebo Vista."This vista is located at the end of Lebo Road and is a spot that you can drive right up to. From here, there are expansive views overlooking this impressive gorge and the area to the north from 1,300 feet above Pine Creek." (uncoveringpa.com)
  6. There are lots of state parks and lands with trails, views and waterfalls.
  7. Riverfront Park
  8. ' "Inspiration Lycoming County" is the world's largest portrait mural. Painted by famed mural artist Michael Pilato, the mural depicts the history of Lycoming County.' (PAwilds.com)




Retrieving my lens filter. 








Tuesday, June 1, 2021

First Timer's Impression of Smokey Mountain National Park



A common scene through the park


We love our national parks. 
So when an opportunity presented itself 
to visit The Smokies, 
we took it.  

Little River Gorge Rd.

Wow, it was not like the other National Parks 
we have visited. 
It was soooooo crowded.  
And everyone was in their cars! 
?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Another common scene through the park. 

We approached from the east 
via a small section of the 
The Foothills Parkway 
and arrived into honky-tonk Gatlinburg, TN  
which was very crowded also. 

View from the Foothills Parkway

Our 4 night stay was in the 
Holiday Inn Express 
which was free if we sat through 
a 1 hour time-share sales pitch. 
My husband almost took the bait but   
I kicked him back to reality. 

Can you find the bear?
Cades Cove Loop Road

We started out with the go-to attractions:

1. Roaring Fork Motor Trail 
(We did this early to avoid traffic.
We hiked along one of the trails.)

View From Roaring Fork Motor Trail


2. Cades Cove Loop 
(My advice, drive there early or later, 
and instead of doing the whole loop, 
take one of the two other roads off the loop. 
Rich Mt. Rd. or Parson Branch Rd 
to the Foothills Parkway 
and explore.  
We did not do this 
but I wish we had. 
I am sure there would have been a lot less people 
and a lot of beauty.  


View from Cades Cove Loop

After spending a lot time stuck in traffic - 
and god forbid someone sees a bear...
because then the traffic is standstill for miles - 
we found an off the beaten path section of the park
 that WAS off the beaten path. 
But yikes...the potholes! 
It was good we had our Pilot 
and not the Accord. 

Ramsey Prong Road

Our off the beaten spot took us down 
*Ramsey Prong Road*, 
across a couple bridges to a parking location. 
From there we decided to explore...
we heard there was a waterfall. 
The early trail was easy going 
and that was all we planned to do.
But the call of the falls beckoned us on 
and we went despite having no water with us. 
After hiking up an very steep and rooty trail 
and over lots of boulders 
we arrived at 
Ramsey Cascade Falls.

Ramsey Cascade Falls

  
What a beautiful and refreshing sight. 
Photos do not do this 100 foot cascade justice! 
In person, it was beautiful. 

Hike to Ramsey Cascade


The trail is 16 miles round trip and 2,000 feet uphill from the parking location. 
It took us over 3 hours up and 2 hours down. 
When we got back to the car, 
I was exhausted. 
We guzzled our water, 
showered the dirt off our tired bodies, 
and went to Bennet's BBQ for dinner. 
I ordered a blackberry sparkler 
after which my husband said I 
was basically sliding off the chair 
into a puddle on the floor. 

Smaller cascades along the trail.

My recommendation is to spend a day in this section of the park. 
It is located in the Greenbriar area, 
6 miles east of Gatlinburg.
 The 4.5 miles drive to the parking area is scenic 
but also on unmaintained roads 
so it is slow going. 
You will find others there 
but nothing like the main section of the park. 
There is a picnic area with restrooms. 

(If this hike sounds too strenuous for you, 
check out the 4 mile round trip hike to 
the 50 ft. Fern Branch Falls.)
 
Cades Cove View

A one time visit to Gatlinburg 
was enough for both of us 
so we probably won't be going back, 
but at least now it is off the bucket list. 

More photos are stored here. 

Have you been to the Smokies?
Tell me what I SHOULD have done.