Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More Travels in New York: From Herkimer Diamonds to Watkins Glen

Herkimer diamonds are naturally occurring quartz crystals in dolomite. Hardness is 7.5. William says his greenstone from New Zealand is about that hard. We went in and looked around the museum. Not too much to see. Free for us since we had stayed at the KOA, which is part of it. I had bought a bit of stone with a crystal in it at the Erie Canal Gift Shop, since I knew I wasn't going to prospect. I'll put it in my eclectic display of "treasures" from around the world.

We actually braved a city, Syracuse, to see the Erie Canal Museum. Free for a donation and very worthwhile. A movie and great displays tell the whole history of the Erie Canal and how it contributed to the opening up of the land beyond the Adirondack Mountains for farming by immigrants and made New York City the greatest American port. Towns developed phenomenally along the canal, since the big New York banks let the local banks keep the cash collected at the weigh stations and the banks lent this money out to people to start many new businesses. The Erie Canal fell into disuse when the railroads and then highway system and trucks came into use. Also, the development of the St Lawrence Seaway, which could handle huge ocean going vessels, took revenue away from the canal.

The museum is a former weigh station. The barges and packet boats were weighed and charged a toll, since the canal was a toll waterway.
Model of the Weigh Station

With a packet boat

Mule and boy on the tow path statue

I'm to guard the fire.

Watkins Glen State Park was our next stop. This is place of great natural beauty, which the state of New York has put little effort into developing. The development, consisting of an ice cream stand, gift shop and filthy restroom, has to be bypassed to reach the beauty of the rock stairs, tunnels and bridges trailing along the wet waterfall filled gorge. You  have to ask what they are doing with the $8 charge per vehicle to park here.
Watkins Glen
Lovely to watch the leaves falling down the canyon gorge. But wonder where the rangers that are supposed to be along the trail are. Laid off for the season I think, along with the cleaning staff.
Hiking together

Although it is pretty warm and humid right now, the woolly bear caterpillars are big and fluffy anticipating a cold winter here.

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