Monday, July 13, 2009

Off to Switzerland... what I thought I'd say this past friday. Perhaps I would have said I'm off to Switzerland....err...of America. I was planning to visit a small city upstate called 'Jim Thorpe' this weekend with my parents. And should I tell anybody how good Americans are in marketing?! In the early 20th century, the town once used to be the second most visited tourist destination in the US, trailing behind the one and only 'Niagara falls'. Hence they called it 'Switzerland of US'.

The town and the surroundings does not deserve to be called Switzerland (not that I have visited Switzerland yet, but I for sure know the hype!). It's a small town with old-fashioned, traditional atmosphere, picturesque scenery and breathtaking mountains! They have a 16-mile scenic railroad, which winds thru the mountains along the Lehigh river, where a lot of white water rafting activities take place.

We boarded the train (that has been running from 1920) as a bear mascot greeted and waved at us. For the next 1 hour, we treated our eyes with the spectacular moutains and the gorges of Lehigh Gorge state park. For some strange reason, I felt a) the trip could have been longer and b) the trains could have been slower. Nevertheless we definitely had a good time.

I then drove to one of the places I have been yearning to go for a long time now - Boulder field at Hickory run state park. I once visited this area with Amar but it was too late (dusk) then and the weather was bad - it snowed like hell. This time, the 3.5 mile dirt road drive wasn't all that bad.
Imagine a wide river stream, with no water but just boulders. That is boulder field. The place seemed to be a true relic of the past. This area, declared as aNational Natural Landmark, has remained relatively unchanged for more than 20,000 years. Because of its flatness and absence of vegetation, the Boulder Field appears striking. Photographs do no justice to this place.

Our next stop was Hawk falls, which was a 1-mile hike down the hills, just off the highway. It was once again worth the hike, as the falls was fantastic and the weather was perfectly conducive for photography. I tried my new 0.9D filter and am extremely pleased with it! There were some monkeys in human forms trying to dive into the water to impress their bikini-clad girl friends. Other than that, the place was awesome. Some pictures here.

Side View of the falls from one of the rocks:

One more wide angle view:

Thats pretty much about one of my recently liked trips. Signing off till my next travelogue. Ciao!

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