Recharging Your Batteries in Less Than 24 Hours
Every once in awhile you just need to stop and take a break to recharge and regroup.
We live in such a fast paced world today, and we're such a goal oriented society, that to take time for ourselves seems selfish and almost sinful. I literally at times have to schedule time off on my calendar to catch up on pending jobs, housework, or just to have down time. As much as it may seem otherwise, I'm far from spontaneous. If it's not on the calendar, it ain't happening! Even when I schedule "me time", I feel guilty for stopping and not "accomplishing something" for my business, my home, or family. Why is that? Does this sound like you? Why can't I be more like my friend Jeanne Marie who advocates for afternoon naps. No matter what anyone says, she does not feel bad for taking those few moments for herself to recharge. Why can't we all be more like my friend Jeanne and give ourselves permission to slow down and recharge our batteries?
In today's blog, I will share with you how I recently allowed myself to unplug and unwind. It's a fine balance work and play, and one I am still trying to achieve. I'm making a concerted effort though to do so and I urge you to as well. Get away and take a few moments for yourself. It can be anything from a quick walk, to an afternoon, day, or weekend getaway. Just do it.
I am very fortunate to live in an area that offers a multitude of options for things to do. There are always activities planned in my community, region and state. No matter what my mood, there's something to do to fit the budget I may have at the time. I find that subscribing to my local and state travel guides opens up options of things I may not be aware of. I also search local calendars for free and low costs activities planned. I am right in the middle of the state and only hours from New York City, Niagara Falls/Canada, and the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. There is no reason I can't gas up the car and go anywhere. Even if it's just an afternoon drive.
Recently a few of my friends and I decided to collectively celebrate our birthdays by taking a trip up north together. The place we chose was Ausable Chasm. To coordinate all of our schedules we did have to plan ahead, but whether planned ahead or just a weekend day trip, it's a perfect getaway spot for you and your friends and family.
We made this a two day trip so that we could get an early start at the Chasm, however it's easily a day trip if you get get an early head start. We stayed overnight in Plattsburgh at the Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham. This economical hotel was clean and conveniently located right off of the northway (Rt. 87). The room was economically priced, and split three ways even moreso. With complimentary breakfast included, and amenities such as a indoor/outdoor pool, it was a great value.
Getting there the night before our hike was a great idea as we were able to relax, get a great meal, and a good sleep for the next day's hiking. We drove into downtown Plattsburgh to Aleka's Greek Restaurant for dinner. This college town was quaint and littered with locals enjoying a beautiful summer evening outside. Arriving at Aleka's we grabbed a table out front on their patio and ordered a carafe of Sangria. I highly recommend the Red Sangria as it was the best I've ever had; full of fruit and not too sweet. The menu offered a mix of Greek cuisine and all the meals we ordered were delicious! Highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the Plattsburgh area.
The following morning we rose early to get a head start on the day. Arriving at Ausable Chasm early was the best decision as we basically had the place to ourselves.
There was no waiting for tickets, and groups had not formed yet to wait for the Adventure Trail or rafting/tubing. Although it was a rainy morning, we still were able to go out and explore without any issues. My friends were courageous and did the Adventure Trail, which consists of climbing a network of cables, rebar ladders, a cargo net, and cable bridges. Although my heart really really wanted to do that too, my mind took over as this gal is afraid of heights and I stayed on solid ground.
Day packages range from $29.95 and up depending on what you want to do. Packages can include anything from hiking, floating, biking, rappelling, and rock climbing, and can be mixed and matched to do it all or just one or two things. This magnificent natural playground has something for the most adventurous daredevils to those who just appreciate wish to appreciate it's beauty.
I took the Inner Sanctum trail to follow along with my friends as they took the crazy trail...oh I mean the Adventure Trail. It's a great hike and a decent workout with a lot of climbing, some narrow bridges, and stairs but as it states, it's "...worth the extra energy..." and I never felt uneasy as it's very secure.
As I made my way through the Inner Sanctum, I was able to stop along the way at scenic points to gather it all in and take a few photos.
The Gorge was found back in 1765 by a William Gilliland. What?!!!! A Gilliland (and he was from County Armagh Ireland!!!) found this beautiful gorge?!!! I find this extremely ironic as I am part of a "Gilliland" family!!! Does anyone else find this an amazing coincidence?!!!! Mind blown!
The Inner Sanctum Trail has been in use since 1870 when the Chasm opened to the public. Making your way along cliff-side vistas and bridges, you do achieve a "birds eye view" to unique rock formations such as Elephant’s Head, Column Rock, Hyde’s Cave, and Jacob’s Well.
As you make your way through the Inner Sanctum, you can't help but be in awe of the massive size of the rock formations and those that forged the trails all those years ago before modern machinery was available to help make the way.
There are places throughout the hike to stop and enjoy the view, grab a drink (from your water folks), or even have a possible picnic as picnic tables were plentiful.
Hikers often stop to add their mark on the Chasm with rock formations among natures rock formations.
There are several places in which the Adventure Trail intersects with the Inner Sanctum allowing those that don't do the Adventure Trail an opportunity to get the same views.
Prior to 2004, hikers visiting the Chasm would tack notes along the rock walls as they were porous enough to hold tacks. Due to litter and the need to maintain the rocks from erosion, a Post Office was erected to carry out the same premise of messages left for others.
As I came along the pathway towards what is known as Table Rock, I relished in the fact that I was able to take this trek alone and with very few others on the trail with me. It was peaceful, and I didn't even mind the few times the skies opened up and rained on me. I had dressed accordingly, which I highly recommend doing. You want hiking boots or sneakers, a hat for protection from rain and sun, and layers of clothing that allow you to hike in comfort. I did forget my bug spray which I regretted, however was lucky enough not to have to deal with many bugs or ticks on this hike.
My portion of the hike took about twenty minutes less than my friends, but is normally about an hour difference. I think because I stopped and took a ton of photos and enjoyed the quiet of the water down below, my time was lessened. I waited with the staff at Table Rock for my party to arrive so that we could continue together on the rafting portion of our journey. At times they say it's extremely busy here, but being the first there in the morning and it being rainy was a bit of blessing because the wait was non-existent and we had a raft just to ourselves.
We contemplated doing the inner tubes but decided we didn't want our shoes to get completely wet. So if you do want to do the inner tubes, I suggest bringing another pair of shoes as you will want them to use after getting out of the water.
Once we boarded the raft our guide offered us a ton of history in the little span of the river we traveled. With the river very low, we didn't have to go through any really big rapids, however there is a portion that could get a little hairy if the waters were higher. Kinda peaked my interest for perhaps an upcoming adventure of white water rafting!
Other than that little area, it was quite a passive relaxing ride down the river. Seeing the rock formations from down below left me awestruck. Kinda puts you in perspective, being such a tiny part in such a huge world.
As we traveled along we learned about the geology of the gorge. The Chasm sits on top of an active fault line that is constantly monitored for activity. On April 20, 2002, a 5.1 quake was felt in Ausable Chasm which allowed area geologists to gather a "windfall" of information. I guess I knew we sat along a fault line, however never really was aware of it's constant activity. Was very interesting to learn and see first hand it's location.
Threading the Needle was visable proof of how strong water and ice can be to the gorge. Years of water freezing and thawing caused this shift in the rocks hundreds of years ago, as well as carving out the actual Chasm through time.
Entering the whirlpool basin was a little misleading. You believe you are entering a calm area of still water, however, this region is one of the most dangerous of the whole area with it's dangerous under currents and areas more than 40 feet deep.
Once you depart the raft or tubes, you have a few options. You can catch a trolley back to the Gatehouse, or trek it back on one of the other trails. We chose to hike the Dry Chasm trail.
The Dry Chasm Trail is a dried up river bed area with over growth, precariously placed rocks, and slippery areas from the recent rain. Although not extremely steep or difficult, you definitely had to watch your footing and a walking stick is useful in this area. We then took the Rim Walk Trail once it intersected back to the Gatehouse. Yes, I definitely got my steps in that day.
Once we made our way back to the Welcome Center it was hugely apparent to us that we came at the right time. With the rain passing on, there were extremely long lines waiting to purchase tickets. Also worth mentioning was that the Welcome Center had a small cafeteria with healthy lunch choices and a Gift Shop. Both were well stocked and very reasonably priced for items. If you wanted to make this a vacation they ever offer a campground for tenting and RV's. With a pool and other amenities, this would be a great base to explore Ausable Chasm and the surrounding areas.
Reflecting back on the trip, I felt relieved to have arrived at opening, during a rainy time, as it was cooler and I had the whole trail all to myself. It added to my peaceful journey I took. It was breath taking, and exactly what I needed to recharge and regroup.