First we summited to the very top of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. Now we must carefully go down the steep and rocky path. It seemed far harder going down as you looked directly off the cliffs to either side. This section was unusual with a few stairs to help out. You are walking in the narrow rocky ridge that runs from one peak to the next.
We are at Whiteface Mountain just North East of Lake Placid in the Northern Adirondacks. You can access Whiteface Mountain by going up the cable cars to semi near the top, or drive to the other side of the mountain to a paid access road. This road is long and winding with great views of the countryside as you drive up. It stops almost above the tree line and you park. In the past you could go deep in a tunnel and up an elevator to the peak and weather station. The elevator had been down for a long time, so the only way up to the top summit is to walk and climb.
The trail starts up with rocky stairs to lull you into thinking it is easy, but then quickly giving way to huge granite boulders and a steep path. The trail goes right along a top ridge line falling steeply away on either side. They have put steel railings on both sides to keep people in and it was quite a thrilling hike.
When you walk far enough out on the long nice elevated boardwalk at the McGough Nature Park (The Narrows Park), in Largo, Florida you come to a branch that takes you to the Intercoastal Waterway. This section goes out right over the Mangrove Trees and over the water where you can see water birds feeding down below and beach houses on the other side. It is yet another change from the Saw Palmetto flat lands and different forests you have gone through on the trail. This is a view down the higher elevated boardwalk and people were already out there enjoying the sun.
Down the boardwalk you can see a “wavy” portion of the handrails and this is a closeup that is much exaggerated due to the lens. I liked the shadow.
As we continue our walk on the trails and pathways of McGough Nature Park (soon to be The Narrows Nature Park) in Largo, Florida, the scenery yet again dramatically changes. We had come through a Cypress Tree and water area into a Saw Palmetto and Pine tree flat then into a Palm tree and oak forest. Now we are entering a quickly changing zone that is so wet, they added a great and elevated Boardwalk. Below is wetlands that have saltwater from the intercoastal waterway and Mangrove trees mixed with Palm trees on the edge and even Live Oaks with spooky Spanish Moss. This is just the beginning of the long Boardwalk:
Here is a view a little further along the boardwalk:
Here at the McGough Nature Park (The Narrows Park) in Largo, Florida we continue to walk along the pathway and as we do, the forest quickly changes to more Palm trees. There are still Saw Palmettos, but there are less Pine trees and there are now a variety of Palm Trees with the Florida State Palm, the Sable Palm, and this very thin and tall Washingtonia Palm. These last are one of my favorite as they are so tall.
For more on these palms see: Washingtonia Palms
Side view of the pathway showing how lush it is in the undergrowth.
As we continue into the McGough Nature Park (Narrows Nature Park) in Largo, Florida, the scenery quickly changes from wet ponds and cypress trees to a trail of white sand in a palmetto forest with tall Lob lolly Pine trees. It is amazing how quickly the forest changes as you walk on. This section is dry and different from other areas even having a few wild Grapefruit trees growing with fruit hanging and on the ground. Because it is “Winter” down here, there are some brown oak leaves on the ground although most of the trees maintain green leaves.
If you look off to the side on the trail you find sand with saw palmettos and small stunted oak trees with their ubiquitous spooky Spanish Moss:
At Letchworth State Park in Western New York, they had many wonderful trails. We explored a bunch but not all of them. This long trail leads way down the gorge to the water below and even has an arched stone bridge across the river for pedestrians and backpackers. Here the water looks serene and deep.
Further way view of the same area:
On the many trails at Letchworth State Park in Western NY, there were beautiful views. The trails themselves were old and well maintained with a lot of stone walls lining them which is typical of the auto bridges and roads also in Letchworth. Here the trail has a large tree in the path which was not cut down, which I like. The pathway has low guarding stone walls on one side so you don’t fall down the cliffs into the gorge.
Other areas have larger stone walls covered with lovely green moss that blend perfectly into the woods.