Monday, September 29, 2008

Hiking - In Search of Local Waterfalls

That wasn't originally the purpose of today's walk. I was actually somewhat disappointed that the roads didn't dry out, and the weather improve, in time for a worthwhile bike ride. So I settled for hiking the 4-5 mile loop at the Plotterkill Preserve instead. It's possible to go here and either "hike" or "walk", depending exactly what you're looking for. There are miles of trails and steep terrain, so a good workout is possible less than 30 minutes from home.

When I started down the trail from the car, I was surprised to hear the unusual (for here) sound of a lot of water running. After a few days of rain, the creek was running high, which meant that the 3 large (50-60') waterfalls would be the main attraction of the day, and to hell with the longer loop. I left the trail and tried to get to the base of the first (western, upstream) falls, but was stymied by high water along the creek. The same was true of the side-by-side lower waterfalls - there was just no way to get there without wading. Not gonna happen. Then I realized that the main loop was also out - although there's a high-water crossing at the eastern (downstream) end of the gorge, I would still need to wade to get back across on the return trip at the upstream crossing point. So, I walked the so-called "Highlands Trail" back to the car instead, now REALLY wanting to see some falling water.

Next, I headed for the Christman Sanctuary, a Nature Conservancy property a little to the west and south. It has nice cascades and a 30-foot waterfall that should also be running pretty good. I was not disappointed, as the pictures below will show.

New England Asters provided a riot of color as I walked across the field from the car to the sign-in box.

Once I reached the stream, I just headed upstream, stopping at every cascade and small waterfall along the way. Though many of these may look alike, they were all taken at different places along the stream. On a good day, this place is just full of falling water! Enjoy!

After a fairly short walk, both on and off trail to follow the stream, I arrived at the main attraction, a 30-foot waterfall, with another 6-8 foot drop just above and behind it. Contrast this view with the other one from the dead of winter, when I snowshoed here in 2002.

Beyond and above this point, the stream is flowing from private property, and this is the end of the line.

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