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Finally got Ohio

I crossed a bridge spanning the Ohio River and took 11 North to Ashtabula, OH.  I was still lacking a cache from this state and wasn’t planning on returning, so before I began my next drive at Niagara Falls in New York, I pulled over for gas and referred to my iPhone to see if a cache was nearby…0.5

Cache hidden here

miles away.  It was on private property with approval, but across the street from a church.  It was Sunday so I had to watch for “muggles” (the geocaching word for observers) and use stealth.  After a quick grab, I was back on the highway to New York.  I drove through four states today (West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and finally New York).

It took about 4 hours to get to Niagara Falls, and much of the drive was through the rain.  I started to consider stopping off in Buffalo to watch the Bills game at a local bar, just to get the flavor, but the weather cleared up.  A rain every few weeks isn’t too bad…I get a badly needed, free car wash.  I didn’t expect to spend much time at Niagara Falls, as I had been there previously and had seen the falls from above, from the boat (Maid of the Mist), and from beneath the falls in the Cave of the Winds, but I ended up staying at least an hour.  I have a fascination with waterfalls, and I’m glad I finally got to one that hasn’t dried up from the drought!

In the process of getting to the oldest state park in the United States (established in 1885), I completed my daily occurrence of getting lost.  I kept trying to follow the signs, but some of the roads were under construction and some signs pointed to Canada (I didn’t want to end up at the border with my dogs trying to show them proof of rabies vaccines), so I kept exiting prematurely.  Finally, I just looked up and saw the mist…from miles away…wow, such force!  The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are to one side of Goat Island and split by Luna Island, making Bridal Veil Falls just a sliver comparatively, and Terrapin Point Horseshoe Falls passes by the other side of Goat Island.  Horseshoe Falls’ crest line is 2,500 feet, its height is 167 feet, and its summer flow is 675,000 gallons/second.  American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls have a crest line of 1,100 feet, a height of 176 feet, and a summer flow of 75,000 gallons/second.  It’s hard to imagine that anyone ever survived going over these falls in a barrel.  Both these falls qualify as an “earth cache” if you have your picture taken by the falls and you can quote their flow, so I’ve already logged two caches while being in New York.

My driving tour led me through the historic district of Lewiston complete with a street fair.  Merchants sold their crafts on the tent-lined streets, while pedestrians meandered in and out of quaint restaurants and stores along the way.  I continued on to Old Fort Niagara.

The Old Fort Niagara has been owned by three different nations, the French, the British, and the Americans.  The French were the first to establish a post here.  They built two different forts here beginning in 1679 before erecting a permanent fortification, the “French Castle”.  The building was designed to resemble a manor house in order to calm the suspicions of the hostile Iroqouis.  Britain gained control of Fort Naigara during the French & Indian War in 1759.  The British were forced by treaty to yield the fort to the United States after the American Revolution in 1796.  The British recaptured Fort Niagara in 1813, but again ceded it to the United States in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812.  The fort is located at the mouth of the Niagara River and controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland.  It was considered vital until the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825.  Fort Niagara also served as a barracks and training post for American soldiers during both World Wars.  I debated whether to tour the fort as I’m not much of a history buff.  I’m glad I did.  It is one of the few places where you can go into every building, tour every floor, and every room.  It offers views of boats sailing in the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, and on a clear day the skyline of Toronto can be seen some 27 miles away (I saw it).

I followed the “seaside trail” for 30 miles past what seemed like countless state parks to end my day at Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse located in Golden Hill State Park.  The 61 foot lighthouse was built in 1875 to mark a dangerous offshore sandbar that once sunk a ship owned by LaSalle in 1678.  It also sunk the HMS Ontario during a Halloween blizzard.  Of the 88 passengers, none survived.  The lighthouse wasn’t open when I got there, so I hope to learn more about it in the morning.

The sunset at this campsite was truly one of the most amazing I have ever seen.  The sky was filled with an array of pinks, purples, yellows, and oranges and while the lake reflected an almost crimson color…absolutely breathtaking.   Evidently there was a bear sighting yesterday, so I’m locked in the camper for the night.

PS.  I keep forgetting to mention my wildlife sightings…in Indiana I saw lots of chipmunks and heard several woodpeckers, but I didn’t see them.  And in Ohio, I saw a groundhog!  I saw one a few days before run across the road, but I didn’t know what it was.  It looked like a cross between a porcupine and a beaver as it hopped along.  Sandy, from Pilot Point said it was a groundhog. ETB

Websites:  www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=302, http://oldfortniagara.org/, www.niagarafallsstatepark.com,

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