The park is not that far away, but this is only our second visit - the first time was a year or two after we were first married. On our first visit, we took the shorter hike up to the sand dunes because it was a warm day and we had not packed any water with us. We vowed to return someday and make the hike up to the Punch Bowl.
We came prepared this time with digital cameras, granola bars, and (it turns out) a woefully insufficient quantity of water. The round-trip hike to the bowl was listed as just over seven kilometres, but with all the side-trips we made along the way, I am guessing we clocked in closer to eight and a half.
It was a very pretty hike, and the weather cooperated wonderfully, but my shins and calves were killing me the next day. In fact today is the first day since that I have been able to walk almost normally. Part of this was because it was very hilly, soft terrain, but we have also been unusually sedentary this summer. I definitely need to get more "away from my chair" time as we move into winter.
The trees were turning their fall colours - as you can't see in this shot - and the birds were heading more-or-less south.
They had stairs for some of the worse areas of up-and-down, but I am not convinced that they made it better. They were awkwardly spaced, and apparently designed with Tyrion Lannister in mind.
The punch bowl itself was much smaller than I had anticipated, but it was wonderfully quiet and secluded while we were there. A horse-drawn wagon full of kids arrived just as we were leaving, so we timed our visit well.