Well you could just climb to the Tower and be done with it. There is so much more to notice, IF you have the proper motivation. Try out the attached quest The Sleeping Giant Scavenger Hunt_final and let us know how you like it.

The Sleeping Giant Tower

             The Sleeping Giant Tower

Younger kids may need some parental help, but older kids should be able to do this on their own. Have a great time and let us know how you like it.

Arrived

in London on August 7,  having spent most of August 6th ‘in transit’ – StarTrek had the right idea … just beam me over to England. The flight was smooth and only half-full, so spreading out made the time more comfortable.

I love the fact that there is a tube right from Heathrow – only one change at King’s Cross/St. Pancras from the Piccadilly Line to the Victoria Line – off at Highbury/Islington. Just a short walk to the Victorian flat rented for the summer by my friends Pat and Bob.

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After a bit of a nap … it HAD been close to 24 hours awake … Pat and I headed for Pat’s favorite neighborhood ‘spot’  “Little Gem”

Unprepossessing perhaps, but not lacking in charm, friendliness, and taste

Unprepossessing perhaps, but not lacking in charm, friendliness, and taste

owned and operated by a young Japanese woman … Sticky rice ball and a ham sandwich … then around the neighborhood for some needed ‘personal’ items. Quiet evening watching the ‘telly’ – Pat’s favorite gardening shows I think – then to bed.

Friday

We started the day at Pat’s favorite spot – Ottolenghi – unique menu items with a Middle Eastern flair! Pat is well-known there and we chatted with some lovely people. While Pat’s usual is Granola and Yoghurt, we both ordered Shakshuka … then drooled over the delicacies on the counter and in the window on the way out.

 

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After breakfast, Pat and I caught a bus headed into central London … our goal was the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. London Transport requires that all riders have an “Oyster Pass” – you buy one, load it with £s, and then use it each time you ride. The limit that can be charged against your card is £8,40 … a good deal if one is traveling through many ‘zones’. We “did” the National Gallery of Art and the National Portrait Gallery – I found these floor mosaics intriguing –

 

Moving on …

We got home in time for a rest, then, as Pat and Bob had made reservations at Little Gem for dinner, so off we trundled for the first of several taste treats that I enjoyed during my visit.

Then home and good-night.

Saturday

Surprise – we had a sumptuous breakfast at … Ottolenghi

Then we trekked back to Central London to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum …

 

… it turns out much more my style! Lot’s of Medieval artifacts, moldings, coffins, statues, et al

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There was also an entire hall of iron work, and locks and keys…

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We had lunch in the most magnificent room! Then Pat sat in the quad while I checked out the gift shop. Even the loo was spectacular!

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One the way ‘home’, we hit a snag … there was a protest of US policies in the Middle East in Hyde Park … a march of 20,000 or so … our bus could not proceed, we were asked to exit, and there we were with only curb and traffic. Gotta love the Metropolitan Police … ‘stranded’ in a mess of blocked roadways and impossible curbs, pushing a wheelchair, we asked three members London’s Finest for help. Two burly guys stepped right up and assured us … “we’ll just carry the chair across luv” and proceeded to pick up the chair, Pat and all, one on each arm, and do just that, stopping four lanes of traffic in the process. Heroes, in my book! Thanks, guys! Wish I could of gotten a photo!

Dinner was a short perambulation from the flat.

Evening … I think this is the night we watched a BBC program  investigating whether or not Richard III could have fought in armor and on horseback (ala History Channel) … next day on to Oxford.

Last summer, on the Yorkshire walk I made a new friend. Felicia and I have been madly exchanging book titles and other news since our return from England, and finally decided on a ‘meet up’.

On our summer trips to see family in the mid-West we choose a route along the Delaware Water Gap (so much nicer that interstates through Scranton) to pick up route 80 west. Milford, PA is at the top of the Gap – a charming, touristy town with lots of history. Years ago we stumbled upon the Waterwheel Cafe and Bakery…if the timing is right we stop for lunch. A perfect spot, almost exactly equidistant between Philly and here, for Donna and I to connect with Felicia and Bob for a reunion.

Waterwheel Cafe, Milford, PA

Waterwheel Cafe, Milford, PA

Plant tower outside the Waterwheel

Plant tower outside the Waterwheel – a new project!

 

It was a lovely lunch – good food, but, more importantly, congenial company. We had a great time meeting our respective partners and catching up.  While we could have opted for shopping, as Milford is apparently an “antiquing destination” and there are lots of little shops and boutiques, we chose instead to tour Grey Towers, the summer home of Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the National Forest Service, friend of Teddy Roosevelt, ardent conservationist, and two time governor of Pennsylvania.

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Despite the on and off rain showers, it was a lovely tour and a chance to further re-connect. We headed home around 4:30 in rain, but again off and on.

also from I-84

from the Scenic Overlook on I-84

Scenic overlook from I-84

Also from the I-84 “Scenic Overlook”

We had been a bit worried that planning a drive on Memorial Day weekend might be problematic, but it turned out to be a good day to travel. Made for good memories!!!

 

 

Many commitments Tuesday meant an early hike – before 8:00 a.m. – to be sure that shouldn’t have meant stopping to commune with wildflowers … but there has to be some glory in a busy day! And such a lovely day it was!!! Cool, breezy, with a magnificently blue sky. The air was filled with bird-song and two woodpeckers having a (literal) rap session, one tapping away on wood that splattered out high pitched ‘notes’,  the other on an ‘instrument’ reminiscent of a bongo drum. The plash of seasonal streams lent a lovely counterpoint. I stepped off from Chestnut Lane – took the Yellow Trail to the Red Circle to check out the Eagle Scout project – the bog bridge sections will be a tremendous boon when that part of the trail floods, as it so regularly does. Turned off onto Orange and then veered onto White to check out the Columbine on Hezekiah’s Knob. Magnificent!!! There is never a “bad day” to hike the Giant … long may he slumber!

There were several wildflowers that I could not identify – despite spending a frustrating amount of time online and in the wildflower books. Anyone want to help out, I’d be greatly grateful!!!

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Especially if you haven’t been out hiking for awhile… and it pushes into the 80’s … and … well you get the picture. :-)

Went to check out the graffiti situation on the White Trail headed for the Chest. Trails Crew tried some all natural paint remover yesterday … the result was that the rock we sprayed and scrubbed turned bright brown overnight and the graffiti stood out even better. Armed with four colors of spray paint … black, burnt brown, grey, and oregano green … I spent about an hour trying to cover/blend over ‘love notes’, epithets, racist symbols, and declarations of arrogant insolence not just along the White Trail, but all across the Chest. Not my happy time.

Did a bit of ‘rearranging the mountain’ – trying to discourage random trail forming and guide water off the trail. Still, I managed to ‘revel’ in some springtime magic …

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And enjoy some birdsong – Prairie Warbler, Raven, Chickadee, Eastern Towhee, and Turkey Vulture – some more pleasant than others.

It’s never a bad day on the Giant!

Snow forecast + beautiful sunny day, not too cold = an afternoon hike!!! Thinkin’ “East End” … Thinkin’ nice views … Thinkin’ “easy” hike. So close to 1:30, I parked on Chestnut Lane/Blue Trail (road), and headed out Violet. If you’ve never been up the Lost Vista, it’s a nice walk from the east end trail head.

Hike_LostVista

Immediately I began to notice things. Weathered and eroded tree roots fascinate me … I’d guess because their fibers are so dense and strong … they DO have to hold up massive trees after all) they wear in unique and evocative shapes.

There's a monster in there somewhere.

There’s a monster in there somewhere!

A glace at the sky showcased, what I’d like to think of were, buds just waiting for spring.

The buds glistening in the afternoon sun.

The buds glistening in the afternoon sun.

The brook, too, was tantalizingly spring like.

A chuckling brook makes 'trail music'.

A chuckling brook makes ‘trail music’.

Reaching the Vista, I spent a fair amount of time just looking and seeing.

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After scouring around for a good 15 minutes, I headed over to hook up with the Blue Trail. Let this be a lesson to carry a map … even if one IS a Giant Master 17 x over, it’s easy to get a bit disoriented. Turned right (good choice) but at the top if the slope, I veered off into a pine grove. I barely caught the long swooping glide of what I think was a red tail. Hoping the bird might swoop back, I found a rock and sat on it.

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In just a few minutes I noticed movement at the far end of the glade. One, then a second, deer picked their way into sight. The doe’s tail, thick and white, went up … down … up … down … like she couldn’t decide if there was danger or not. We stayed like that for close to 10 minutes, watching each other …

... like two statues ...

… like two statues …

finally, the deer not coming any closer, I picked up and moved on, but not before I managed to capture this nuthatch bounding from tree to tree, spitting out bits of bark on a search the his ‘tea’.

nuthatch

The Blue Trail continues over the Left Knee, another spot I think is just fabulous. Pine grove to one side with the wind soughing softly, bare open space baked by the sun, and a vista that encompasses the Tower ridge and beyond to Mad Mare’s and West Rock Ridge.

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I trundled off the ridge and on down past a moss covered slop, onto the Blue-Violet crossover to the top of the Knuckles.

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The way back led down Violet to pick up a horse/ski trail, and back to the car. One last set of tree roots.

roots

Having been either a couch potato or otherwise engaged since I started the year off on the “right” foot on January 1, I chose to hike at my own pace today, with eyes open and some deep breathing. My choice of trials was all about moderation – hence the choice of the East End trailhead on Chestnut Lane.

There were at least 20 cars before me, but the beauty of the Giant is, you don’t have to see most anyone. ‘Armed’ with trekking poles, water, and a bag for trash (found some before I even started out – why do people pick up their dog’s poop and then leave the bag???) I set out along the horse/ski trails; just the path to take when one wants to see the sights and not be constrained by the need to watch one’s feet.

I soon came to a trail puddle … a small stream backed up and clogged with dead leaves. Mom always warned me about playing in the mud,, but at 66, I feel like I can finally ignore the warning. Scoop some debris and move some sticks, the water and I are soon on our way.

Just a bit of froth!

Just a bit of froth!

I parallel wonderfully enduring rock walls. As a friend recently said – so quintessentially New England! Then my attention is captured by a bit of geologic ‘decoration’ – a large piece of quartzite embedded in a piece of (perhaps) basalt.

Quartzite studded basalt.

Quartzite studded basalt.

Following the blazed trail, not the one that warns of trespassing and pesticide application – BEWARE! – I came across a spot that I have frequently pondered … was there once a dwelling there? My eye was drawn to what my imagination perceived was a cleared ‘path’. Is that trash? Heading in, I found a ‘midden’. Broken bottles, dessert dishes, “fine” china, a crystal bowl in pieces, a small figurine with no head, a split porcelain pot (hopefully not a potty).

Someone's kitchen 'midden' - antique bottles, broken crystal bowls, and an old porcelain pot. Not telling where.

Someone’s kitchen ‘midden’ – antique bottles, broken crystal bowls, and an old porcelain pot. Not telling where.

After examining all these treasures, and slicing my finger on the crystal for my trouble, I covered it all up with leaves and sticks and went on my way, imagining who might have left the stash and wondering why there. The Giant’s is full of surprises! Continuing along, I checked out another spot that rains and weather frequently expose bits of china and glass. This spot was ‘treasureless’.

Headed towards Mansion I spy what Keith has called his ‘favorite tree’ – here in black & white for effect.

If you go out in the woods today ... we very aware!

If you go out in the woods today … we very aware!

Another “this one’s for Keith” who loves to photograph fungus.

Is this the stairway to heaven?

Is this the stairway to heaven?

I follow what was once the “Hamden Wallingford” road until the horse/ski trail turned off at a spot where I have often questioned the presence of pachysandra. Was this also a spot of a former dwelling?

As I walk I encounter a few people – a jogger, a couple of folks with dogs, a solitary young man who seems caught up in his own thoughts; certainly far fewer individuals that I might along the Tower Path. Reaching Tuttle Avenue, I take a moment to enjoy the horses

Bucolic scene at the end of the Red Circle Trail (Tuttle)

Bucolic scene at the end of the Red Circle Trail (Tuttle)

and then start up the Gorge Trail (Red Circle). The ‘falls’ and the ice are stunning.

Amazing water and ice

Amazing water and ice

and in some places a little trickle

and in some places a little trickle

There are other amazements that grab at my attention …

Looks like this boulder was tied with fossilized twine.

A boulder that appears to have been tied with fossilized twine.

A green monster with droopy eyes and globular lips just lumbering along.

A green monster with droopy eyes and globular lips just lumbering along.

A flattened but furry-green platypus.

A flattened but furry-green platypus.

I do take a side trip to the Giant’s knuckles … the ‘other’ waterfall on the Giant.  Impressive …

The Giant's knuckles were frozen over.

The Giant’s knuckles were frozen over.

On the final stretch, beside a dirty little puddle, the true dazzling of the day … individual leaves upon which ice had formed … the leaves have ‘melted’ away from the ice leaving the impression of the veins and the outline of the leaf itself.

Oh, so fine!

Oh, so fine!

How does it look in Black & White?

How does it look in Black & White?

A terrific way to end the outing!!! The Giant always has wonders to share!

It was another one of those hikes … just me and my camera … I was looking today for textures and pattern contrasts, I wanted to SEE, not just pass through the landscape. Snippets of nascent poetry ran through my head –

As I approached the the park, I remembered lines that came to me on Sunday:

“The Giant’s ears are turning red,
Countless colors surround his head … “

And as I walk along:

“Ensnared in earth’s magnetic pull,
Leaves drift,
Caught in a sudden breeze,
They lift
Like Autumn butterflies.”

The views were spectacular, of course!

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I was just as, if not more, interested in things less obvious, but no less grand. I began to notice what I’d hoped I’d see – patterns and textures – contrasts and anomalies – pictures and stories waiting to be SEEN.

Some days I just SEE creatures along the trails …

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and I am struck by the “earth stories” of millennia past or of sheer tenacity …

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or sometimes by the contrasts of companionable happenstance …

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There are patterns, shapes, and textures that make me pause and ponder …

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All in all a most enjoyable hike – I did spend some time rehabilitating a washed out spot on the Yellow Trail – sliced hands and scraped legs are evidence. Never happier! It’s never a bad day on the Giant!

The day was too glorious to be indoors. I put out a general invitation to the Trails Crew group to meet at nine – brrr – a bit chilly. Once we got on the trail though, the blood was pumping, and vests and jackets came peeling off. Up the Orange Trail, past that place that always has a warm up-draft, with the air redolent with cedar, there was even heat! Ah, heaven!

Keith took the accompanying photos as we connected to the Green Trail – crossed south to north on the Red Triangle – and returned on Violet through the Quarry. To quote Keith – for the thousandth time :-> – It was a BEAUTIFUL day!

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It’s hard to believe as I finally post this last day in Yorkshire, that it was almost a month ago that Kathy and I set off for York. Re-capping the journey has been slow-going. “Fixing” pictures, researching to remember what I’ve forgotten, and generally stopping to feel ‘aha’ moments as I recap our adventures.

We wake up to a lovely sunrise, the light soft on the hill, a gossamer haze blanketing the horizon. The view from our garden room, marked our last day of walking in this beautiful place.

Sunrise over the Dales

Sunrise over the Dales

Just outside our room

Just outside our room

We breakfasted in good time and had a chance to take a turn around the grounds of the hotel

Across the street and over the dales

Across the street and over the dales

Our 'home' for Thursday and Friday nights.

Our ‘home’ for Thursday and Friday nights.

I believe this is Alstroemeria

I believe this is Alstroemeria

before being picked up

Just waitin' by the side of the road

Just waitin’ by the side of the road

and transported over to Simonstone Hall to meet up with the group.

Marshalling the troops

Marshaling the troops

The day turned drizzly, but we walked … over fell and moor … across pasture … you get the idea …

It's a stroll

It’s a stroll

We stopped for our ‘break’ and then met Jim, who showed us the techniques of building a drystone wall. It is not a lost art, but one very much alive.

Jim lays the foundation

Jim lays the foundation

...then builds upon it

…then builds upon it

While there, Jim took us to a barn he has renovated – at least he won’t disturb the neighbors.

Alan entertained with his drumming

Alan entertained with his drumming.

We walked on to Bainbridge where Sue and Mark live. A charming village

Bainbridge3

Cannot love English gardens enough!

Cannot love English gardens enough!

with a long green and stocks for those who ‘misbehave’

This pun-ishment, might just have been for all the puns!

This pun-ishment, might just have been for all the puns!

Just around the corner was lunch at the Corn Mill.

Lunch - "Cheese Toasties" and lovely cakes

Lunch – “Cheese Toasties” and lovely cakes.

After lunch some folks were transported to our next stepping off spot, while Sue gave us a little expose on the Archimedes Screw that was recently installed utilizing the river to generate electricity for use in the village and to sell back to the grid.

The river Bain

The river Bain

Bain

Falls on the river Bain

Falls on the river Bain

The Archimedes Screw

The Archimedes Screw

Our next drop off and we were on our way –

through gates

through gates

along stone walls

along stone walls

Past stone barns

…past stone barns

about Stone barns … until we came to Gayle Mill,  a fully restored 19th century state of the art sawmill with working Victorian machinery and water-powered turbines.

GayleMill

Mark, Sue’s partner, is director, and gave us a tour of the facility which serves as an educational museum and is also a workshop producing wooden goods.

First, however, tea

Tea

… because this IS the Wayfarers, after all. Then the tour

GaleMill

Generating power

powering the saw mill

powering the saw mill

Sue took a ride on this all wooden bicycle …

craftsmanship, indeed!

craftsmanship, indeed!

and we’re off again – this time to Wensleydale Creamery, where culinary tastings delighted the palate. No time for pictures, too busy cheese tasting!

And that was that – we headed ‘home’ to ‘dress for dinner’, our farewell. Alan had lots in store for us besides the food, but why spoil the surprises. Let’s just say we got our own back as well.

Saturday was of course the bittersweet farewell from Darlington train station. Found our overnight in Manchester – literally right in the airport. Felicia was staying there as well, so we lunched – I napped – Kathy and I had dinner – and good night. The flight home was smooth, the pick-up flawless, and then we were home, suffused with stories and memories.

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