There is a place in New York that is referred to as “The Grand Canyon of the East!”
With a name like that, how could we not go on an adventure? This is actually the second day of the wondering hiking trip I took to the Finger Lakes with my wonderful girlfriend, Amber. So this blog also goes out to her magical, beautiful, mermaid soul.
First things first:
There is NOTHING like waking up to the crisp mountain air, slight chill before the sun comes out and pounds you to death LOL! Seriously though I didn’t want this part to end. Not even knowing what time it was may have been the best part. It was early but that didn’t even matter. Nothing mattered but that moment.
Our campsite was extremely minimal. What we mean by that is, there was nothing setup but the tent and 2 chairs around the fire pit. This gave us the ability to get up and go and not have to worry about anything. Same goes for when we came back. There was no cleaning up or packing whatever that time may have been. For breakfast we had dehydrated meals and instant coffee. I have to say, the meals weren’t bad although I was burping powdered eggs all-day-long. So hot I know. Pshhh!
You may recall the day prior we ventured to Watkins Glen (prior post here). That was magical for sure however this…..THIS place we something else. *Click for effect* LETCHWORTH STATE PARK! This park was voted Best State Park in the USA for 2015. BOOM BABY! Yea you know this is going to be a good one! *winky face* Honestly I didn’t know anything about it and I’d never heard of it before until Amber brought it up.
It’s another hour and a half or so Northwest of Watkins Glen, New York.
Zombie Val’s tan is killer by now! haha…killer…get it… derp
The land was originally called Seh-ga-hun-da, the Vale of the Three Falls. The Upper Falls, Middle Falls and Lower Falls run through the gorge and are each as stunning as the one prior.
Our hike started at the Upper Falls.
I took a picture at the park that describes each of the falls (there was NO way I was going to remember these details):
“At 70ft high, the Upper Falls, is a deep horseshoe shape. The top of the falls is part of the strata named the Nunda Standstone. Similar stone, known locally as Portage Bluestone, was quarried south of Portagebille. In low water you may notice some concrete at the crest of the falls taht was placed tehre in 1878 to slow erosion.”
From The Upper Falls we worked our way down along the gorge to the Middle Falls:
Middle Falls were awe inspiring. They were massive. By far the largest in person falls I’ve experienced. It’s hard for you to get a good grip on the magnitude of them from these pics. At least that’s what I think *shrug*
“Middle Falls. The largest of the three falls, the Middle Falls is 107 feet high and 285 feet wide. It has changed very little since Letchworth’s time because of its many hard, resistant sandstones. The Senecas believed that this great beauty of Ska-ga-dee, the Middle Falls, inspired the sun to stop at midday in admiration.”
Give me a second so I can just….pick up….*reaching*…. my jaw…hang on..*reaaaaach*….almost got it….ahhh ok. We can move on.
Now I would love to show you Lower Falls however from where we were this lovely gem is out of sight.
“Lower Falls. Around the bend downstream and out of view is the Lower Falls, which is constantly changing because of the softer shales that dominate in the lower canyon erode easily. The harder caprock of the Lower Falls, known as Table Rock, forms dozens of waterfalls on tributaries throughout the park.”
There are many trails that you can…trail..within the park. Different difficulties, different distances, simply plan and choose your trail accordingly. Today we were going to do the yellow trail. A 7 mile hike from the top of the falls to the end of the trail and then back down (I mean we had to get back to the car right?) So 14 miles in total.
When going on a hike like this even if you think “oh it’s no big deal we’re just walking around it’s not like we’re scaling cliffs or crossing rivers.” Doesn’t matter people. You need to be prepared. You need to make sure that you have the right amount of WATER and NUTRITION because with all factors considered (distance, elevation, weather and be sure to even take into consideration your own personal health) you’re going to need it. We actually were sweating so much that we drank all of our water. Thank goodness there was a place half way to refill but man oh man, it was rough for a bit.
All that being said, after we made our way past the lower falls, we still had 12ish miles to go. This is where the beauty of this trail continues. The yellow trail took us along the edge of the gorge the entire time. Any time we wanted to get a peek at incredible views or awe inspiring nature we’d simply look to our right:
Pictures will never do a place like this justice which is why it’s so important to get out there for yourselves and expierence them!
Along with the grand views, we met some little friends along the way:
There were also incredible colored fungus amongus:
Obviously do not eat these guys (choose the Cliff bar in your pack instead). Whenever it comes to brightly colored objects in nature your best bet is just to keep your hands to yourself. Admiring from afar is plenty good.
Which leads me to my final pic…
You canNOT grasp the magnitude of this place. I was there and the whole time my jaw hung open. It truly is the Grand Canyon of the East. This spot was around mile 5 1/2 – 6 I believe. We could’ve sat here for hours. This day was something I’d never done before. Never visited this park, never trailed 14 miles and I’d never seen anything quite like it.
It is with all my gratitude that I say “thank you.” Thank you to those men and women all across our nation who, way back when, realized the preservation of places such as this would be so immensely important for the future.
Peace, love and adventures.