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Lancaster Airport Community Days

Lancaster Airport Community Days

It's that time of year again! Time for the annual Lancaster Airport Community Days. This is one of my favorite events of the year. Not only are there a ton of really cool airplanes, but there are all sorts of activities, foods, and a very intriguing interactive display I've heard rumors of. Best of all, it's free admission and parking is only $5. For more details on whats going on this year, visit the Lancaster Airport's website below ...

 

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Eclipse Roadtrip

Eclipse Roadtrip

I imagine by now anyone who didn't know there was a Solar Eclipse last Monday has heard by now. I imagine it was probably the most photographed natural phenomena ever. I imagine we'll continue to see those photos trickle off photographer's memory cards for a little while too. While I'm going to share two of my eclipse photos below, I personally found the adventure to be much more exciting. Here's a taste of what we saw on the road to West Virginia ...

note about the music: I recently discovered Event Horizon on Instagram and really liked this track. A special thanks to Shane for letting me pair his music with my Images. You can find him on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, Facebook, and other sites ...


 

Hitting the road ...

Living in Pennsylvania meant that we were around the 70% of totality zone. If we wanted to see the total eclipse we would have to do some traveling. While I had my heart set on Kentucky it seemed kind of impractical, especially given the threat of clouds and storms that would block the view. So I waited and tried to pick a place with some potential that was a little closer.

I finally settled on Valley Falls State Park near Fairmont, West Virginia. The photos I saw of the area looked gorgeous, and I always love a good waterfall scene. It was a really beautiful place which helped my patience while the clouds were blocking the sun.

Valley Falls State Park - Fairmont, WV

Valley Falls State Park - Fairmont, WV

 

The Eclipse ...

The eclipse began just as we arrived at Valley Falls State Park. We were able to catch a glimpse or two at the beginning before the edge of a storm system moved in. We were literally right on the edge of the clouds, but it was better than getting rained dumped on us. That was the situation just a few miles away. The clouds swished by for a while and the system didn't really move much until after the peak of the eclipse. Despite the challenge I was happy to walk away with some photos.

A quick snap before the clouds took over for a while.

A quick snap before the clouds took over for a while.

Wisps of clouds passing in front of the eclipse at it's peak in northern West Virginia 8.21.17

Wisps of clouds passing in front of the eclipse at it's peak in northern West Virginia 8.21.17


Along the way ...

The eclipse was awesome, and Valley Falls State Park was awesome, and there were two other stops along the way that we really enjoyed. On the return trip we stopped at the Youghiogheny Overlook Welcome Center near Friendsville, MD. It provided a nice place to relax for a little with a lovely view of rolling mountains and the Youghiogheny River Lake flowing North towards Pennsylvania.

My favorite stop on the entire trip was the Sideling Hill Welcome Center near Hancock, Maryland. We were able to stop there going both directions. The eastbound rest stop is connected to the westbound via a walking bridge. I definitely plan to return there in different seasons and different weather conditions. This was one of my favorite views in a while, check it out ...

Looking East from Sideling Hill Welcome Center in the morning.

Looking west at Sunset from Sideling Hill Welcome Center during our return trip. 

Route Map and Photos ...

Take a look at the route map below and you can see exactly where we stopped. Zoom in and you can see some of the images I captured at each location. If you're a Google Maps user you can save the map for a future road trip for yourself!! Happy Exploring!


 

Ready for #LifeALLIn?

Observation Tower at Governor Dick

Observation Tower at Governor Dick

Here's a place I've been anxious to revisit. I first visited Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick back in my Amish Road Show days. I'll post the original video further down. That was kind of a crazy time because Zoe was just a baby and had just starting to walk. Basically, we needed out of the house. It was fun, but she screamed the whole way back to the car, and it was slightly less than enjoyable. 

So the other weekend we returned with both kids older and accustomed to a decent hike. The park is located just south of Mount Gretna, Pa on Pinch Road. About a 1/4 mile south of Mount Gretna Road (Rt. 117) you will see a pull-off that provides access to the firetower. If you go another 1/2 mile or so down Pinch Road you'll find the entrance to the Environmental Center Parking Lot. This is where we like to park if we can. With over 15 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and equestrian use there's more than one way to get to the tower.

Panoramic view of the Observation Tower rising beyond the Trees at the edge of the wildflower fields.

The most direct hike is up a service road, but there are plenty of trails to branch off on, and most of them are not really stroller friendly that i saw, just a heads up. Our crew made our way through the wildflower fields. There were plenty of flying and stinging insects around, but for the most part they didn't bother us. That's where I got my Insta360 Nano out and started recording. Check out the video below to see what came next ... 

The climb up the tower is not too bad. The kids did really well with some help and guidance. I guess a lot of people don't realize it's ladders, not stairs. As you can see, when you get to the top you're in a cage. I had my selfie stick with me so I got to poke my Insta360 Nano just a little bit higher. Take a look at the view on the south side of the tower ...

There is a lot I still don't know about this park. However, that's just a reason to visit again. I know that the Park offers a wide range of nature based and  other educational programs. They also work with the Public Schools a good bit as was the desire of the late Clarence Schock. Be sure to stop by their site for more details on all of the activties, rules, and other information about the park.

 

Blast from the past ...

Like I said, this was our second trip up here. Just over five years ago I came up for my Amish Road Show site. This was back when I first got my GoPro Hero 2. Such a proud moment. Check it out ...

Kilgore Falls - Pylesville, MD

Kilgore Falls - Pylesville, MD

As we kick off August there are definitely hot days ahead. This time of year we love chasing waterfalls and finding cool creeks to splash around in. One such waterfall isn't here in Lancaster, but if you're local or near the area it's worth exploring to beat the heat this summer!

This waterfall is just across the border in Pylesville, MD. It's known by multiple names, but you can find it on Google Maps by searching for Kilgore Falls. This is the second largest free-falling waterfall in the state of Maryland, and it is a beautiful sight.  Check out the image below ...

 

To access the Falls you will have to park at the Falling Branch Area of Rock State Park. There is a small 28 spot parking area on Falling Branch Road that fills up quickly, so be sure to get there early as they strictly enforce their no parking policy along the road and in the grass. This is a very popular area, so get there early and avoid weekends and holidays. It actually took us two trips to see the falls. The park grounds are open sunrise to sunset, but the parking lot is open at 8am from March through October, and 10am from November to February.

Once you park the falls trail is approximately a 1/2 mile single track hike to the falls. It is NOT wheelchair or stroller accessible, and large coolers are also discouraged. The trail is narrow, rocky and filled with roots, but it's not a strenuous hike by any means. The kids had no problem keeping up, until the falls tired them out of course.

That's because swimming and wading are permitted at the falls. No lifeguard is on duty and cliff jumping is highly discouraged as people have been seriously injured here before.  You should also note that there are no picnic tables, no restrooms, and no trash cans. Keep it light going in and make sure that you leave nothing behind.

This isn't the tallest waterfall I've ever seen, but it is a gorgeous area. Don't just take my word for it, I had my Insta360 Nano along for this adventure. Checkout what I capture below ... 


360 view on Kuula.co

Below you will find a 360 photo I captured with my Insta360 Nano. Not the best 360 photo I've ever captured, but I good sense of what it's like at the base of the falls.

More of Rock State Park

In the event you can't get into the parking lot, or maybe you're looking for more adventure, the main section of Maryland's Rock State Park is home to the King and Queen Seat Overlook. A really fabulous rock outcrop with a stunning view of the valley 190 feet below. Check out this short video ...

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More Fireflies ...

More Fireflies ...

We're still chasing fireflies. I can certainly admit that it is one of the great joys of summer for me. Since one of my other great joys is photography I've been having a blast capturing these interesting little critters.

After a few adjustments to the settings last evening I set my camera on time-lapse mode and walked away. I wanted to capture a number of images so I could stack them together, have a short time-lapse clip, and just generally be able to play around with them a bit. I enjoy experimenting with turning photos into videos in different ways. The result is the composition video and images below. Enjoy!

 

Photos:

1300 - Fireflies and house on hillside

This next one I took a step further and edited with Topaz Impressions by Topaz Labs. It's a really cool stand-alone program and photoshop plugin that makes your photos look like paintings. Sound Interesting? Check out the link below the photo and try out the free demo!

1300 - Firelfies Impressions Version