Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Top 5 Features of New York's Central Park

  New York's Central Park is world famous. When I first heard of a park in the middle of Manhattan New York, I thought it was nothing special. My idea of a park was not in the middle of a city but in the middle of a wilderness miles from a city. Shortly into my visit in Central Park, that idea changed.

 The park is so vast it can take several trips in order to experience the various locations. Check the image below to give you an idea of the shape and layout of the park. There is a vast array of pathways and water bodies. Once inside the park, one can forget that you are in a big city. 

 The tall trees and swirly paths can make you feel disoriented when you are not unfamiliar with the park. The scenery on these paths are beautiful. Which brings me to one of the top 5 features. 

The Paths

The above photo I shot is a typical path throughout the park. Green foliage and well tended paths make it a pleasant walk. 

People use the paths for leisure and exercise. Tourists like myself use them to explore and experience the character of the park. 

While you explore the park, a common thing you will see are old style lamp posts along the paths. I do love the old style look these add to the park.

When walking the path you will hear sounds of birds chirping, people talking and people riding bikes. In the background you can still hear the city, but for the most part you just hear the sounds of the park. It is a peaceful escape from the fast pace city.

There are several main roads that go through the park itself. This is used for walking, bikes and even horse carriages as you can see from the above photo. 

 Other interesting features are huge rocks along the path like the above photo. It adds a different flavour to the park. I am sure this one was put there by man. Other man-made objects along the paths you will see are sculptures. 

The Sculptures

 One of the first sculptures I saw in central park was an Egyptian Obelisk.  Surrounded by bushes and trees; this adds to the character and beauty of the sculpture. It is one of the most interesting sculptures of the park. It bestows an exotic look to the park.

 Another important sculpture is of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States. This is found along one of the roads going through Central Park. It is a fitting sculpture for such a park. 

 From a distance the sculpture of this panther almost looked real, crouched and intent on his prey. I noticed this coming around a turn, when daylight was fading. It was a bit of a surprise. A nice surprise when I realized what it was. 

Another historic sculpture is of the 107th Infantry Regiment of New York. Another appropriate sculpture for such a grand park.

The last sculpture I came across was this one in the above photo. It looks Asian in nature. It is just on the out skirts of the park. I wish I could tell you what is was. I was not able to find any information on it. So if you know what it is suppose to represent please leave a comment. I would appreciate it.

There are many more sculptures in the park. Unfortunately I did not get to see them all. In addition to the sculptures throughout the park, you will get to see some astonishing views.

The Views

 I did get some shots from a higher vantage point on my second trip to the park. There was some thunder showers that day. With the clouds and and the city behind the trees, I went with a sephia look to give the view an old New York Look. For me this was an unusual look to see a city looming just above a tree line. 

Here is one of the ponds near a baseball field. I am not sure what all the green is in the water, but I am sure it is natural.  It is a relaxing place to just to sit here and listen to the sounds of the park. 

Here is a shot of Park Avenue from Central Park. Another Sephia shot gives it an old style New York Look. These buildings have some of the most expensive properties in the world. 

 If you want the ultimate view of Central Park take a look of a video I took from the top of the Rockefeller Centre.

The Garden

 I can't tell you exactly where I stumbled across a beautiful garden in Central Park. It is called the Shakespeare Garden. The name is written on the plaque below.

You instantly notice the beautiful multicoloured rocks. It is a nice combination with the lush green and colourful flowers. 

On your way through have a seat on the log benches and enjoy the beauty. This is one of the best features of the garden. 
Just below you will see a Sun Dial. This is found near the centre of the garden. I did not get a chance to check the time that day, because of the thunder clouds. Here you will find some of the most vibrant flowers in the garden.

The Castle

 Not too far from the Shakespeare Garden you will find a castle. It is called the Belvedere Castle which was built in 1869. It has some of the best views in the park. Some of the pictures you saw earlier were taken from there. 

 Here is the path leading to the steps of the Castle. As you come to the top of the steps you will find yourself in the Court yard, which you can see in the photo below.  

 It is an awesome sight to see something like this in the middle of a park. In the court yard itself you can get a decent view of the park. Go across the court yard and you can ascend to the top of the castle to see one of the best views in Central Park.

The Restaurant

 My favourite treasure I discovered in Central Park was a restaurant called The Loeb Boathouse. Just outside is a seating area to have a drink and something to eat. As I went inside to use the bathroom this is what I saw in the photo  below. 

 It was stunning. We did come back here to eat a couple of days later. The food was great and the wine was refreshing. 

 On the side of the restaurant is a bar area with some live music. It is a relaxing place just to drink and watch the water. Nearby people can take a boat out on the pond. 

 That concludes my list of the top five features of Central Park. You might have a completely different list than I do. There is so much more of Central Park I missed. I would love to hear your experiences and favourite places in the park, so feel free to comment.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Many Views of The Sugarloaf Path

  Every hiker has his/her own reasons for taking time out of life to get away and enjoy a trail. Some do it for the exercise, others do it for leisure. Everyone has their own reasons. I do it for many reasons. One of my favourite things about hiking is seeing a view that makes you stop in your tracks and just enjoy the moment. 

 On the east coast trail's sugarloaf path, there are many things to see. I wrote several earlier post's about these. I wrote about the old tress,  WW2 observation post, rock formations, Quidi Vidi village and the paths. In addition to these are the beautiful views of this trail.

  This first photo is on the Logy Bay side. As you can see there was a bit of fog rolling in that day. It did get thick for a short while, which made it a bit cooler. 

 At the peak we can see the fog getting closer. I was happy this did not last long so I could get some decent shots.  

 I do like the look and feel of the fog lingering over the rocks and water. It is beautiful and eerie at the same time. 

 As we head down the peak the fog still lingers. This was taken in August. This path is in the St. John's area. The city is known for its fog. Most of the time you will see it just roll in over the hills and it's gone again. Other times we could get it for days without a break. 

 Looking back I could see the peak we came from. At this point we did not see much more fog. It was awesome to see how the fog just lingers over the mountain.

 This whale was a nice surprise. This was a humpback whale. They are the most common whale seen in Newfoundland's waters. 

 Along the trail there are many view points that allow you to look out over the ocean and cliffs. I happened to be near a viewpoint and heard the whale coming up for air. It is hard to see from the photo but I am up much higher than it looks. I was amazed I was able to hear the whale from that height.

 If you ever walk this trail be sure to listen and watch for whales.

 This shot was interesting. Look to the bottom of the cliff where it meets the water. You should see two dark openings. They look like nostrils carved into the rock. They are two large caves. I could not get a better view from here. My camera's lens was not the best. I may revisit this area one day with a better camera and lens. Hopefully I can get more detail. I am sure a small boat could enter one of those caves. Not that I would try that or encourage it.

This looks like a generic shot. I thought to show this one to illustrate all the beautiful places to sit and have lunch. Just to the edge of the cliff you can see some trees.  This is a great place to sit in a shaded area to have a lunch. There are more than one of these along the trail.

One of my favourite characteristics of Newfoundland is the greenery and the jagged rocks. I thought this was a good shot to illustrate this. This is a typical view on the trail.

 This was a sight to see. The view of this bridge comes upon you unexpectedly. It is instinctual for the eye to be drawn to this because of the beautiful colours of the rocks. This is not seen anywhere else on the trail. 

This is another great place to sit and have lunch. Careful with your step here until you get to the board walk. 

 By far one of my favourite views on the trail. The green and copper colours and the water trickling over the rocks is inviting to the eye. 

 If you are wondering why the rocks are this colour, it is because of a high concentration of iron in the water which turns the rocks to this colour.

 This shot was taken on the bridge looking in the opposite direction of the ocean.

 If you turn around and look out to the ocean this is the other view you will see. I love the jagged rocks here. I did not want to leave here any time soon.

 A while after the bridge I took a shot looking toward where we started. If you look near the centre of the photo you will see the far peak. That is the first peak we traversed. The Sugarloaf path is almost 11 kilometres in length. At this point we are around 9 kilometres. Looking back it seems further. 

 Near the end of the trail, you can see a great view of Quidi Vidi Lake, Quidi Vidi Village and some of St. John's. As you can see St. John's is a green looking city. Right around this area are some bike paths so you have to be careful not to walk on the bike paths. There will be signs here to guide you. 

 On the way down you will get a better view of Quidi Vidi Village. This is a beautiful little fishing village. I may do a post on the village itself in the future.

 At the end of the trail near the road you will see a little marsh. You can hear the frogs here, though you will not see them. This was a nice way to end the hike.

 This will be the last post on the Sugarloaf Path. I will do other trails in the future as well as other subjects. I hope I was able to give you a little taste of what it was like to travel the Sugarloaf Path on the East Coast Trail.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mystical Pathways on the Sugarloaf Path

 Along the Surgarloaf path on the East Coast Trail, you will encounter many different features and variations of the paths themselves. What I love most about the paths are the colours of greens and browns. It gives you a feeling of peace and serenity. 

 Check out the above photo. It could be scorching hot or windy but in here the trees shelter you from that. All you hear are the trees blowing in the wind, the ocean and the sound of wildlife. 

 The path continues on like this for some time. You have to pay attention you do not trip from a root. I love the smells and air along this area. It is cool and refreshing.

You will also see many paths running through bushy areas. These are usually in open areas along the trail. Many of those bushes will have tasty blueberries in August and September.


You will discover many rocky areas along the path, so you should watch your step. The path can go from a dark shaded area, to breaks in the trees allowing the light to gleam on the path. It allows for a beautiful contrast in colours. 

This trail has been developed and maintained by volunteers. You will see different steps and walkways along the trail. It can't be easy walking all the way in here with tools and gear to make a set of steps or a walkway.  Those volunteers deserve a big pat on the back.

 Here is another set of steps I walked down. They do add to the beauty of the trail. It is welcoming after navigating rocks and roots. 

 The above photos are another good example of the colours and lighting along the trail. Another welcoming set of stairs in a well lit area. The brown colour on the ground is from the decaying needles from the trees. It does make the ground softer to walk on.

 Sometimes there will not be any stairs, but just a sort of rail built into the path to keep it level. 

 In the above photo you will see a beautiful set of trees. I wrote an earlier post about this. This was a nice surprise. The path leads into a dark shaded area. The trees themselves did not seem like they belonged there. Unfortunately they are a set of dying trees. 

Just past the old trees you will come to a set of stairs that leads upwards for what seems like miles. 

  Near the top you will come across some nice walkways. This is welcoming after the long climb up the steps. 

After the walkways I thought I was near the end. Once out into the open I saw a long set of stairs heading up the mountain. The photo does not do it justice. In person it looks more daunting.

 Once you get to the top of the stairs it leads to a couple of pathways into the open. This leads down to some rocky pathways. Watch your step here, as they are sandy, making it easy to slip. If you look ahead you might notice a shape in the rocks. If you don't notice anything check out a post I wrote about this.

 The Sugarloaf trail has paths that are shaded, colourful and peaceful. There are moments when you feel like your in another  world  when you walk the paths. Hopefully you will too, if you have not already done so.