The 2018 Road, Day 18, Part 2: The Grand Chasm of Ausable

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June 12, 2018, Lake Ariel, PA

I saw the sign for Ausable Chasm, ten minutes after leaving Plattsburgh. Remembering how I had briefly considered making a trip up to the Champlain Basin and Ausable, way back in my feckless University days, I took the exit and headed east.

Ausable Chasm, like Bushkill Falls (July, 2016), is billed as “The Grand Canyon of the East”. It is also, more credibly, called Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks. Both are relatively compact, especially compared to the Colorado River’s system of gorges and chasms. Both are privately managed, and charge a modest entrance fee-most of the time.

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Today, the ticket seller noticed my VA card, when I pulled out my wallet.  She asked whether I would be attending any special programs and i answered that I would be walking the trails.  She then admitted me for free, and thanked me for my service.

So, starting with Elephant Head, I followed the handiwork of the Ausable River, through 3.3 miles of sandstone.

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I began my walk at Elephant Head overlook, then headed back towards Rainbow Falls. After showing my armband at the main admissions kiosk, I started along the Rim Walk Trail, which offers a series of overlooks, at various waterfalls.

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Triple Falls shows how the Ausable River is flowing a bit more shallow, right now.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Nevertheless, gravity does its thing!

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I left the Rim Walk, went a little way on Dry Chasm Trail, then headed down to the Inner Sanctum.

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You can see one of the Inner Sanctum footbridges, below.

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Float trips are a big draw here. A group of twelve was getting ready to head out, as I descended from Dry Chasm.

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Once on the Inner Sanctum Trail, it is imperative to watch one’s footing, as the rock underfoot gets very slippery.

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The sheerness of the drop is impressive, from the bottom, as well as from the top.

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A set of cairns is intended to keep hikers from going into the cave, to the right.

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The narrow ledge and footbridge in the foreground are sometimes part of Adventure Trail, a more advanced exploration program.

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I stuck to the footbridge taken by the gentleman shown above.

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A short time later, I was back on the rim and returned to the Visitor Center, for a hearty lunch.  I was quite pleased with the views atop and inside Ausable Chasm. Comparing the gorges of the Northeast to the Grand Canyon is understandable, but not necessary.  These unique geologic wonders hold their own.

Intending to visit Fort Ticonderoga, I found that the hours did not accommodate a visit, today. I spent a few minutes in the town of Ticonderoga, and briefly visited the western shore of Lake George, Champlain’s little brother to the southwest. Lake George is just big enough to have its own tides, as well.

Lake George is connected to Lake Champlain by way of La Chute River.

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Ticonderoga is a somewhat busy town, with a small, hard to see traffic light, strung across the road.  I almost got fooled.

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Here are some west shore views of Lake George.

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i headed south from here, grabbing supper in the town of Queensbury and looking for accommodations, west and south of Albany.  My default spot, Port Jervis, must have had a special event. The nearest available room was in Lake Ariel, PA, a bit more than an hour from the Three Corners.  So, I spent the night in comfort, at Comfort Inn.

NEXT:  Homage to Steam

 

 

 

Crossing The Line

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May 6, 2018, Prescott-

I called Papa and told him of Antonio’s ruse.  He uttered a Sicilian oath and then told me to stay on his tail.  “Keep the receipts and remember, this is business.”

Marco Siqueiros opted to get off I-84, at Rte. 9, and headed north.  I figured, correctly, that Tony just didn’t want to pay tolls- so there was no Thruway and no river crossings.  The chiselers blazed past Albany; so we did, too.  When they stopped for gas, in Lake George, we waited by the curb, until they were almost ready to leave.  Aurelio, a Mexican chauffeur for my Papa, was not known to Tony, so with cousin Donnie and me slumped down, “Rico” was able to gas up.  As luck would have it, Marco had to use the facilities, so we still left in tandem with the schmucks.

The woods and plains of northeastern New York passed by in agonizing slowness, as Marco seemed rather leisurely in his northward jaunt.  It was dark, when we followed them into Plattsburgh, where they took a room in a lakeside motel.  Aurelio got a room in the same motel, while Donnie and I walked across the street to the Motel 6, with Rico promising to take cat naps and set the alarm for 3 AM, then for 6, and to alert us when he saw movement.

It was 4 AM, when the Acorenos woke- and the God of us all rousted Aurelio, with a full bladder.  The driver threw himself together, mercifully taking a minute to brush his teeth, before following the two of them at a discrete distance.  We got the signal, and were ready when our vehicle pulled to the curb.

From there, Tony and Marco took a predictable route- headed for the Canadian border.  Papa had foreseen this, and had a plan in place, for this eventuality.  When we buzzed home, Sonny answered and told us to turn around.  “Youse don’t have any more to do.  Papa has men to take over, on the other side.  Head back to Baltimore.”

“Jeez Luweez!  What are we, chopped chicken liver?”, I protested.  Papa got on the line, posthaste.  “Listen, Gino, you did a magnificent job.  Now it’s time for me to call in a favour, from the Palmieri family in Montreal.  Their guys are already waiting for Tony and his cousin.  Come on back home.  I love you, boy!”

We turned around, on a side street in Champlain.  Aurelio did not see the bogus police cruiser pull in behind us.  In a matter of seconds, the gunfire had taken him out, and wounded Donnie in the chest.  I got by with a flesh wound, but we all were transported to the hospital, by a random farm worker, who called in the hit to the county sheriff.  New York State police nabbed the two hit men,  about seventeen miles out of Champlain, headed towards Massena, on a county road.  Tony’s Plan B had run amok.

Poor Marco, though.  The Palmieris took him out, with a single shot, three minutes into Quebec.  Antonio Ribeiro was now in hiding, with no knowledge of the French language, and no car, as Mikey Palmieri had seen to the getaway car’s tires and radiator.  At least he remembered his passport.