Monday, July 4, 2016

A "Gorgeous" Father's Day, 2016

    It's been more than 3 weeks since my last blog post... a very long time for me This time it isn't a lack of things to report, but too many things and not enough time to write them up. We left mid afternoon the Friday Father's Day weekend and drove to Ithaca, NY, and stayed with my younger daughter, who is now well into the clinical portion of her Veterinary School training at Cornell. Our friends Amy and Tom also drove up and spent two nights with us in Ithaca. On Sunday (Father's Day) itself, we hiked up Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca, which I had been to but never hiked up before. Just as here in Connecticut, it has been a very dry spring in upstate New York, so water flow was fairly low.

The bottom of Buttermilk falls.. Just below this picture is a swimming area, but it doesn't open until July 1st. The trail up the gorge start just to the right of the picture. It is difficult to get a sense of scale, but the upper [part of the base falls here goes up at about 60 degrees.

Here's the view from the top of that segment, with the swimming hole below, and a series of broad "terraces" leading to it's head. It is said that when the water flow is fast, it froths so much that it has the appearance of buttermilk, hence the name. 

Above the terraces is this narrow, tall sluice-way.

Proceeding up the gorge, there is a seemingly endless series of waterfalls!

One the natural canals carved in to the sedimentary rock that is the geologic character of the Finger Lakes area. 

So straight that it looks completely man made... but it isn't!

Another series of falls - note the deep color of the water in the mid ground. The constant action of the water has caved out a deep pool - about 20 feet deep, I'd say. It was a warm day, and we were ready to swim in it. Alas, not allowed! 

More carving of the rock by the main course of the water, and its eddies. 

The upper of the 2 falls seen two pictures prior. 

Amy, my wife Jan, and my daughter Kristie standing near the base of the same falls. 

View of the same falls from above. Imagine what it would look (and sound) like with 10 times as much water!

Another natural canal, and a tiered falls.

Yet another tiered falls, with a broad, shallow pool at it's base. 

Close up of that falls. Note the height of the opposite wall of the gorge!

"I'll be there are some pretty big fish in there" remarked Tom. If you look closely, you can see them. The water is certainly well aerated!

And yet another tiered falls. 

Once again, note the height of the wall of the gorge!

Another shot of the same falls. 

And a close up; the water here did have some of that "frothy" look. 

In a flat section of the gorge - a perfectly round, very deep pool, carved from the rock centuries ago, when there was a straight drop onto this area for an extended time. 

Also carved by the water centuries earlier, this column is reminiscent of the American Southwest!

Nature is always on the move - this deep sluice way is carving its own round pool below... but some fallen trees are changing the water flow. 

Continuing up the gorge, we encounter another column.

and another broad falls. The far left looks like an otter slide!

The gorge trail continues on beyond that falls...

to more canals and smaller falls.

Another perfectly round basin carved out by a long vanished falls. 

Another sluice-way, that looks to have been eroding back up the gorge for centuries, gauging by the deep pool seen here. 

A multi-angular canal leading to the sluice-way. 

The gals catching the sights. On a very warm day, the gorge was delightfully cool. 

Near the headwaters of the falls, the rock is still being carved into interesting patterns. 

The top of the Buttermilk  falls - the stairs to the right lead to a roadway! If you follow buttermilk creek further up, you come to Lake Treman, another NY state park. Just as we arrived here ().75 miles in and 600 feet up), my older daughter called my cell to wish me a happy Father's Day. That's what I call perfect timing!

The previous day, we all hiked down Enfield Glen and Lucifer Falls, which I have previously posted on. It was a beautiful, sunny day in the high 80's, and we came prepared for a swim!  The sign at the entrance said the water temperature was 62 degrees. The sign at the changing rooms said 60 degrees... and the sign at the waterside said 57 degrees!

Ordinarily there is a diving board here into the deep water at the base of the falls. That area was closed. They were due to dredge it out the following weekend. If you look closely you'll see a triangular gap in the falls. That wasn't there at our last visit, and thus several tons of rock broke loose over the winter!

On our way back from several of the local wineries, we stopped off for a quick view of Taughannock Falls from the overlook. We still have to hike that one!


  1. Gorgeous gorge, Peter! I immediately recognized Lucifer Falls looked from your earlier post. Looks like an enjoyable hike.

    1. It was! lots of stairs, sop not sop great if you have bad knee problems or are very unfit, otherwise no problem.

  2. Replies
    1. It is a vert p;retty artea, even without the gorges and falls. Lake Cayuga is huge and deep.

  3. Replies
    1. Indeed, it was, Joe!
      We need to get together for a game!

  4. What a fabulous looking area!

  5. What a fabulous collection of photographs Peter. A wonderful place to spend a special occasion with friends and loved ones.

    1. Thanks, Carlo. It was most enjoyable. The water at Lower Enfield the day before was cold but really refreshing on a hot, sunny day!