September 9, 2004, and I was feeling my way along Rt 96 in the driving rain; the third remnant of a hurricane in a week, and I wondered what in the world I could do today. I was taking the kids to Interlaken to drop them off at school, bemoaning the fact that I wouldn’t be able to go out and play. The weather just wasn’t cooperating for photographing the rose gardens (MY kind of play) on Cornell’s campus, and my day’s plan had just washed down the drain.
With the storm clouds outside (and inside) the car we crossed the bridge at Taughannock Creek. The water was angrily clawing at the bottom of the bridge. The torrent ate at the sides of the creek, moving boulders and making decisions about what it would move next.
I sped up and raced toward Interlaken, dropped the kids off in record time, came home, grabbed the camera and said “Honey, you’ll see me when you see me!”
Taughannock Falls greeted me with a deafening roar as I rounded the curve in the trail leading to the bridge and then to the observation area near the base of the falls. Instead of falling, the water was ejected way over the falls ledge and arced angrily down into the gorge.
OK, there’s nothing “hidden” about Taughannock Falls but it WAS my introduction to photographing many of the falls in our area. Hiking up (or down) the many public trails in our region will lead you to some worthy sights that the less intrepid among us may miss.
So where can you find some beauties you’ve never seen? The Keuka Outlet Falls is one, Set your GPS to 1450 Outlet Rd in Penn Yan. After parking in a gravel lot, walk a quarter mile upstream to find one of the prettiest little cascades in the Finger Lakes. Ok, they’re all pretty, but this one is special – a triple cascade dropping about 40’ in total. Bring your camera. It’s worth it.
Bordering the campus on Cornell’s north side is Fall Creek and the famous (locally) suspension bridge. Just upstream and way, WAY down from there is Foaming Falls, one of a number of smaller falls leading to Ithaca Falls and Cayuga Lake. A short way west down University Ave from the East Ave Bridge is a trail that goes down, and down, and down to the very bottom of the gorge. Look upstream and you can see the beautiful “Foaming “falls next to the old hydroelectric plant. It’s hard here to imagine there’s a university just a few yards away. Be prepared though, the walk back up isn’t for the faint of heart.
Then there are those little places you pass by and never notice till it’s too late, like this mini-gorge at Rt 414 and Carpenter Rd in Burdett. As far as I know, it has no name. The photo was taken from its bridge over 414, and is the end of a beautiful little canyon, but it IS private property, and owner’s permission MUST be granted before trespassing.
A couple more?
Visit Montour Falls and go to Havana Glen Park and Campground. It’s a town park and very laid back. Follow the trail upstream to Eagle Cliff Falls and check out the rock formation just to the left, which looks (coincidentally) like an eagle looking at the falls.
Fillmore Glen State Park is a gorge with many of the beautiful features we expect in the Finger Lakes, a sweet little stream with multiple drops and a swimming and picnic areas at the bottom. I’m told it’s always cold like Treman…
My suggestion to you is to go and visit one of the Finger Lake’s fabulous wineries, buy a selection from the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail, and take them both to one of our waterfalls. Make a day of it and have a blast.
Nyfalls.com has beautiful photography of Finger Lakes falls, lakes, wildlife and more. Go explore! We live in one of the most spectacular areas in the world. Go out and enjoy it, one waterfall at a time. It’s all within reach.