Dan and Hannah Hike Locally at the Brave Boat Headwaters in Kittery, Maine

The second of our daily double of short local hikes is just over the York line into Kittery.  (Click here for the first, the Fuller Forest Preserve in York.)  Travel south on Route 103 from York Harbor and on your right after two miles or so you’ll see the trailhead parking for this hiking jewel developed by the Kittery Land Trust.

This mid-April late morning finds women with their dogs and a mom with her three-month-old papoose.  The trail is often wide enough for the two of us to walk side-by-side through the forested land.

Crossing the little creek on wooden puncheons with roof shingles for traction, we are minutes from home but really away into the Maine woods.

Ever the Mr. Cool with his shades.

Having hiked this trail before with our grandsons Owen and Max, today we discover the new Sawyer Farm Trail spur at the far end of the loop trail; red plastic blazes on the trees guide us all the way to Bartlett Road near the York/Kittery line.

Without haste but walking steadily, Hannah and I cover the mile and a half or so of trail in forty some minutes.

Paired with the Fuller Forest Preserve trail not five minutes away, the Brave Boat Headlands trail gives those new to hiking/walking and those seeking the solitude of nature a double-barreled hiking experience.

Five days later we took our friend Karen to explore this same trail.

Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week #23 – Being Kind

Asked by his daughter if he had any regrets in his life, her 80 year old dad said,

I wish I’d been more kind.

Repeated by Jeanne McSorley, Standard, California

Ms. McSorley explains, I am impatient person (as was my dad), and as I try to improve myself as I move forward in life, the idea and practice of kindness have become my personal motivating force. Everything improves with kindness…I hope I will not have a similar regret if I’m ever asked question at the end of my life.

Dan and the Wizard of Oz – KGUA #46

For the April 26, 2021 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour, I am asked to free write about the Wizard of Oz character with whom I most identify. 

It’s Dorothy. 

But first let me say that I saw the Wizard of Oz as a kindergartner at the local theater in Hawthorne, NJ.  Seeing the Wicked Witch of the West scared the beejeezus out of me.  Don’t get me started on the terrifying flying monkeys.  Who lets a five year old see such a horror show?  I’m guessing my parents wanted to just toughen me up.  You be the judge how that’s worked out.

Back to Dorothy.  First of all, she has the classic line for those dealing with the unknown, Toto, I have a feeling that this isn’t Kansas anymore. Problem solving 101: Acknowledgement the issue.

Dorothy Gale had the adventurous spirit that I wanted as a kid who was quite comfortable at the ballfields, gyms, and playgrounds of my youth. I saw no reason to get out of my comfort zone and leave little ole Fair Lawn, New Jersey. 

This is where my parents stepped up.  With my brother and sister, I was packed into their woody station wagon for the Tetons in Wyoming and the deserts of Tucson, Arizona.  Seeing that the West wasn’t such a dangerous place, I had the seed planted for an adventurous life. 

Marrying a homebody like Hannah, I drew upon my inner Dorothy Gale and planned our own family trips to the Mountain West and later driving 4500 miles to Alaska to set her free and let our kids know that we weren’t in Maine anymore.

Our kids have since been to Iceland, China, Colombia, and Afghanistan (in that case, thanks to Uncle Sam) and little do they know that they can thank a young girl from the Heartland, one Dorothy Gale, for that inspiration.

Words – 287

Cast. Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. Frank Morgan as Professor Marvel/Gatekeeper/Carriage Driver/Guard/Wizard of Oz. Ray Bolger as “Hunk”/Scarecrow. Jack Haley as “Hickory”/Tin Woodman. Bert Lahr as “Zeke”/Cowardly Lion. Billie Burke as Glinda the Good Witch. Margaret Hamilton as Miss Almira Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West.

Release date: August 25, 1939

Dan and Hannah Hike the Taughannock Falls Trails near Ithaca, New York

For the first time since June 2020, Hannah and I have come to central New York to see our eleven-month identical twin granddaughters, Reese and Charlotte, and their nearly three year-old big brother Brooks.  Due to Covid, we have not been able to support in person our son Will and his wife Laurel in caring for their brood.

Reese, Brooks, and Charlotte

But this last weekend in April 2021 we have come to Ithaca to be of some modest support.  Bringing Hannah’s homemade chili and cornbread and treating them to Mexican take-out with, listen to this, take-out pitchers of margaritas, as well as treating us all to Wegman’s monster subs for lunches, we hope to feed their bodies and souls. 

Brooks flying on the Omi Airlines

Raising our game, each afternoon we watch the kids while Will and Laurel go for a drive, take a long walk, or shop for garden supplies.  Taking Brooks for the morning to the South Hill Elementary School playground and wheeling Reese and Charlotte in their stroller around the neighborhood, we are giving it our best to support them in dealing with the exhaustion of parenting young’uns.

Charlotte and Reese

Like father like son

Heading out of town after four nights in Ithaca early Sunday on Will and Laurel’s sixth anniversary, we drive north on route 89 on the westside of Cayuga Lake (pronounced Cue-ga) for the roaring falls trails of Taughannock (pronounced Ta-gon-ick) Falls State Park eight miles from town.

Let the hiking begin

Parking for free before the season starts, we hike the South Rim Trail with few others.  Master craftsmen from the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) of the 1930s built the stairs that we take to the upper reaches of the gorge.

(The white spots are from the rain the previous night.)

With 400’ feet of elevation gain, the South Rim Trail and its sibling the North Rim Trail are high above the flowing gorge river that is wide enough for two to walk the walk and talk the talk.

It’s Gorge-ous

The Upper Falls

Crossing over the river above the Upper Falls, we follow the well-marked North Rim trail back to the trailhead.  Again, the trail is wide and easy on the feet.  The North Rim has the one view of the falls from high above.

The Taughannock Falls from the North Rim

Roughly two and half miles later, Hannah and I complete the Rim loop trails in 70 minutes.  Fact is, we are just not stop-and-smell-the-rose hikers, we move and we groove. 

Upon completion of the Rim trails, we take the level Gorge Trail to the falls that is filled today with hikers ready to break out after their Covid winter of isolation.  With a trail wide enough for fifteen people, we easily skirt the masked and unmasked as well as the washed and unwashed.

The Taughannock Creek through the gorge

With more people vaccinated, we abide by the park rule and easily maintain six feet of separation with other hikers. See above. 

The thundering Taughannock Falls

The falls are roaring like we’ve never experienced before due to the winter run-off and recent heavy rains of spring. 

Known for being unable to take a successful selfie, I give it my all at Taughannock Falls.  It’s a start.  Let’s try to find something positive to say or say nothing at all.

In less than two hours, we crush our 10,000 Fitbit step goal. Do I hear 20K?