Don't miss Part 1 of this post published yesterday afternoon!
Both the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid, New York. Whiteface Mountain, located approximately 13 miles from Lake Placid, is where the alpine ski events were held. It is the fifth highest peak in New York (at 4,600'), but boasts the largest vertical drop in the eastern US. The top can be reached via the Veterans Memorial Highway and supposedly offers a 360 degree view that is stunning on a clear day. Guess we'll find out next time around because once again, just because it was US, no one seemed inclined to open the road a day early!
The highway to Whiteface begins in the little town of Wilmington, so we made our way to the visitor center looking for guidance as to whether anything else we hoped to see would be closed. Turned out to be one of our better moves as the very helpful person guided us to the Olympic Ski Jumping area, but first said the magic words, "do you hike?" Given that it hasn't worked out for us to hike once on this trip, I was immediately interested. Turns out there was a network of trails very close by that she highly recommended because of their water views plus a chance to see a huge beaver dam and five occupied blue heron nests. Off we went and it took about 50 steps into the woods for me to realize how much I needed it and how badly I'd missed it. The hike was relatively short (2 1/2 miles) but wonderful.
High Falls Gorge is one of two places in the area that has built a series of walkways along the Ausable River capturing the force of the river as it makes its way through narrow chasms with exploding force. We'd heard it was something not to be missed. And I'll have to say it was pretty impressive.
We seem to be following (totally unintentionally) the path of last summer's very destructive hurricane Irene. We first noticed the effects along the seawall near our house in Connecticut and at High Falls Gorge, we learned that the wind and force of water from Irene completely devastated the walkway system. The park was closed for quite some time, but now is open with even better walkways that actually extend out over the gorge in some places. Neither of us were too fond of the clear glass platforms looking straight down into the chasm! Reviews on Trip Advisor.com range from "wonderful" to "rip-off," and I'll admit the price was a little steep for something that took less than an hour, but we enjoyed it and are glad we took the time to do it.
But little did we know what fun lay just ahead.............on to the Olympic Ski Jumping venue just outside Lake Placid. You can only imagine the conversation taking place in our car when we first laid eyes on THIS..................