Saturday, September 15, 2012

Falling, Falling ...

I spent this past Labor Day weekend exploring Ricketts Glenn State Park with my girlfriend Patty and five of her friends, all women. It was nice. We rented two cabins at a local camp ground, (one with a kitchen!) planning to hike, swim, kayak, bird, drink beer, and maybe sit around an relax a bit. We succeeded in all but the water sports, although we did get wet.

The cabins were originally a religious retreat, circa World War II, and appeared to have the original paint (albeit not much of it). The interior was rather bare bones as well. No matter to me, as we were there to be outside, so they were just a place to sleep, but we agreed we were unlikely to return.

We drove up on Saturday in three groups due to varying schedules. Patty and I arrived first and got our choice of the cabins. And we got the one double bed, everyone else getting bunk beds (none of which were all that comfortable). The beer arrived with the second group and we relaxed around the fire that evening enjoying a bottle or two.

The main attraction of Ricketts Glen is the water falls. Twenty-two of them along two trails, Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh, which can be done either as a 3.2 mile loop, or separately as two 6 mile hikes. We woke up bright and early, much too early for a holiday weekend, to hike the trails.

Since there was a variety of levels of hiking experience and physical shape among the group, we decided to hike down the Ganoga Glen side first, a little over six miles, have lunch, and then do the Glen Leigh side, another six miles, in the afternoon. While the overall distance is greater, it is all down hill, hence the appeal. We hit the trail at around 7:30 am (I told you it was too early!). Three of us, myself included, were photographers. And we lingered at scenic spots, composing and shooting. Others, the true hikers in the group, motored down the trail. It took us slow pokes around four hours to make it down.

It was a great day for hiking and photography, overcast and cool. And the falls, while not overflowing with water, one needs to be there in the spring for that, were still very much worth seeing.

So here's what made us linger ...

Mohawk Falls

Oneida Falls

Cayuga Falls

Ganoga Falls

Delaware Falls

Mohican Falls

Tuscarora Falls

Erie Falls

Harrison Wright Falls

Sheldon Reynolds Falls

Murray Reynolds Falls

(There are 13 falls on the Ganoga Glen trail, but somehow I missed two of them. Curious ... maybe with the low water levels they didn't appear fallish enough?)

We reassembled for lunch and then our plans went awry. Perhaps it was the early start, perhaps it was those beers around the fire, perhaps it was the crappy beds in the cabins, but the order of business after lunch was lounging around, some folks even napping. So we decided to do the Glen Leigh side Monday morning.

Alas, that was not to be.

Some of us, the birders, got up early to go birding. But the weather did not cooperate. Nor the birds. The day began cool, overcast, and drizzly, turning to rain when we were driving back. The non-birders had gone hiking, and they reported that the trails were quite slippery in the rain.

Here's a view of the trail above Delaware Falls, visible along the right side of the image. All smooth rock. You may have noticed sections of the trail in the images above as well (be sure to bigafy them).

Trail above Delaware Falls

Smooth rock, rain, camera gear, not to mention flesh and bone. Not a good combination. So the rest of the falls will need to wait for another day. Perhaps in spring with more water. Perhaps in fall with more colors. But someday for sure.


Anonymous said...

The falls are terrific Steve, but you were in a cabin with 5 (Five) women and all we get are waterfalls? Have you been spending too much time in the Wilderness Old Fella? LoL

MevetS said...

Now now Ron, this is a family blog!