With both an apology and a nod to TLC of ‘Don’t Go Chasin’ Waterfalls’ music fame, ‘Do Go’ was definitely the theme of my vacation.
Having just returned from an East Coast trip, waterfalls were a constant theme. From the 100-foot underground waterfall of Secret Caverns to the beauty of Niagara Falls, a hike to the gorgeous two-stage waterfall Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskill Mountains, and a quick visit to a soothing waterfall in a creek flowing by private property … water was everywhere.
It’s definitely hard to condense a weeklong trip into one column, especially when the journey included me, my daughter, her fiancé and my two nieces, one from Fairfield, one from Pittsburg.
We were a little wary when the first thing that happened at the airport was everyone with any kind of granola (bars, trail mix, etc.) in their carry-ons got stopped and had their bags searched at the security checkpoint … that was three out of five of us. After successfully navigating that hurdle, we then got to our gate and saw the police searching a passenger outside on the landing, with a sheriff’s department cruiser soon arriving. Minutes later, the man was led away in handcuffs and officers were checking out a small suitcase jammed full of paraphernalia that shouldn’t be carried on a plane. Way worse than granola.
I think what made this trip different from those in the past when a combination of family members have gone was that this time, we were all adults. No ‘kids’ – no one under the age of 21; no curfews, no having to make it back to the house to make sure kids got their naps. We could just go and go.
The first five days were literally non-stop, highlighted by the trip to Niagara Falls, about four-and-a-half hours west. Except for some issues (which will not be discussed here) at the motel, the trip was great. Niagara Falls is something that needs to be enjoyed up close and personal; pictures do not do it justice and there’s no way to truly explain the power and sheer majesty you feel as you stand there dwarfed by the water. Watching fireworks exploding over the falls at night was an added treat.
My sister-in-law made that trip with us and we just enjoyed the time to be together, making some great memories. Plenty of new family catch-phrases and inside jokes that won’t soon be forgotten. I could say “Challenge Accepted!” and “Ooo-S-A!” to all our readers and it wouldn’t mean much but somewhere, my family is smiling recalling those words.
There were also waterfalls at the end of our hike in the Catskills. One of my favorite spots, Secret Caverns, features an underground waterfall and that was a stop on our tourist travels. We didn’t see waterfalls at the Animal Adventure Park (an hour from my parents) but we did get to meet the famous April the giraffe, her baby Taj and Taj’s daddy, Oliver.
You would also think that as many times as I have been back to visit NY, I would get over the green. But there is something special about stepping out the front door at my parent’s house and being greeted by trees, green grass, a lush garden … it just doesn’t get old. My brother led a bona fide nature walk after a family barbecue and provided a living history lesson of the area, from the trees to the wildlife to why the deer in upstate NY right now appear more orange in color than brown.
For me, waking up each morning and having a cup of coffee with my mom and dad was the best way to start the day. I even had time to make my dad a batch of his favorite oatmeal raisin cookies. We had family game nights, met my NY niece’s baby boy, the first grandchild for my brother and sister-in-law, connected with lots of friends. A week was definitely not long enough but we packed as much in as we could.
Chasin’ waterfalls … it was time well spent.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.