Exploring the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks

Waking up the second morning of vacation, I was surprised how quiet the campground was.  All I could hear was the faint sounds of vehicles and birds chirping.  Usually when we are camping we hear other campers early in the morning, but that morning was peaceful  

After getting up and making a breakfast of pancakes and bacon we planned our day.  My tip for breakfast is to buy the Bisquick Shake and Pour pancake mix where you just add water and shake and your pancake batter is ready.  For the bacon I cook it in a large pot so it does not splatter grease all over my cook top.   

Today's adventure took us to New York. After researching activities in the area I came across Ausable Chasm, "The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks."  This is your typical tourist destination.  Near the visitor center is spectacular Rainbow Falls, with a walking path providing views of the falls.  In order to get to any other paths of the canyon you have to pay an entrance fee.  There are various packages, you can hike the trails, with an option of floating down the canyon in a raft or tube or do an adventure course where you are crisscrossing the river, various obstacles and scaling the walls of the canyon .  We chose to hike down into the canyon and finish out the day with a short raft ride through a few rapids and a narrow part of the canyon.  Since this is huge tourist destination it can be very crowded.  We had to wait in line to get tickets for about 20 minutes.  After getting tickets we took our time with walking along the rim of the canyon enjoying the beautiful reviews.  After walking about a mile to where the rafts launch we had to wait about 45 minutes to get on a raft. Since this was my daughters first time on a raft going through white water I was not sure how she would take it especially after waiting in a long line.  The waiting area was well shaded and cool from being close to the water so we did not get hot sanding there. I would recommend wearing some form of water shoes, as your feet do get wet in the raft, no shoes with open backs are allowed. It was our turn to get into the raft. We did not paddle as our guide did all the work.  It was incredible floating through the narrow part of the canyon towards the rapid. The rapids are about a class two so very mild.  My eight year old loved it and told us she was ready to go white water rafting, but I think we are going to wait a couple more years for that.  Personally, I'm glad we did not float down in the tubes because you had to take out at the rapids and it looked boring, the raft was much more fun.  The ride only took about 10 minutes then we walked back up to a bus that took us back to the welcome center. If you are going to check out the chasm I recommended getting there after they open because as the day goes on it gets busier and the wait times are longer.  We felt it was worth the money and the wait time to see something different.  

Since we were about two hours from our campground we decided to take a ferry from Port Kent, New York to Burlington Vermont.  One of the activities I had looked at was a boat ride either on Lake Champlain or Lake George. This way we were able to get a boat ride and cut driving time off our trip back to our campsite.  We had to wait about 30 minutes for the ferry, but there was a beach free for us to use next to the terminal.  It was actually a great beach, soft sand, swings, cool waters and more fantastic views. 

When the ferry arrived my daughter thought there was nothing cooler than daddy driving his truck onto a boat. We were able to roam freely around the ferry either standing in the bow or sitting upstairs inside or out.  We enjoyed the outstanding views going across the water of Burlington and the Green Mountains. The ride took about an hour and was so worth it. We were dropped right in downtown Burlington near Church Street, where there are many cool shops and restaurants. 

Since we were driving by, my husband wanted to stop at Magic Hat Brewery.  We had planned to have dinner there, but there was a limited menu so my husband, disappointed, just picked up some beer. My husband enjoys a good beer and loves trying various varieties.  I knew he as disappointed we did not stay, so I went to my trusty travel partner, Yelp, to find another place to eat.  Once again Yelp did not steer us wrong.  I found a wood fire pizza restaurant, Folino's, with a brewery, Fiddlehead Brewery, next door and winery across the street.  For a Monday night it was fairly busy with eat in and take out patrons, it's a small place and we had to wait about 15 minutes for table, but so worth the wait.  The restaurant was BYOB and what a great set up.  You pick up your beer from the brewery in the same building and bring it into the restaurant, where they supply you with frosty cold glasses.  The fresh salad and pizza were exquisite. My husband said I redeemed myself by finding a place where you can fill a 32oz or 64oz growler with fresh off the tap beer.

On our drive back to the campground were stopped on the side of the road to enjoy the magnificent sunset over the Adirondack Mountains and were pleased with our adventures of the day.   

 Rainbow Falls 

Rainbow Falls 

 Ausable Chasm 

Ausable Chasm 

 Getting ready to float down the river.  

Getting ready to float down the river.  

 Looking from the ferry terminal towards Vermont. 

Looking from the ferry terminal towards Vermont. 

 Ferry ride and enjoying the view.  

Ferry ride and enjoying the view.  

 Coming into Burlington 

Coming into Burlington 

 32oz growler full of Fiddlehead IPA, fresh from the tap.  

32oz growler full of Fiddlehead IPA, fresh from the tap.  

 Amazing sunset to end and amazing day.  

Amazing sunset to end and amazing day.