Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls State Park is home to its namesake waterfall, along its namesake creek.  The park is located along New York highway 89 and the west shore of Cayuga Lake, about seven miles northwest of Ithaca.  As anyone who read this blog last month might recall, I was recently in Ithaca visiting three of its waterfalls, so you could say that I was back in the area to see one more.  During that earlier trip, however, I had not yet learned about this particular waterfall.

Getting to the Ithaca area was more hazardous than I had anticipated.  Although TV reports indicated that western New York was experiencing a drought, as I got ready to check out of a hotel in Auburn, NY, a pretty intense rain was falling.  As I drove westward on U.S. highway 20, and then southward on NY-89, the rain continued, varying in intensity between light and torrential, occasionally providing some large puddles in the road.  On US-20, I passed a line of about 12 bicyclists, who were fortunately decked out in weather-appropriate outerwear.

As I came upon the park, the rain was pretty intense, so I headed into Ithaca for refueling and a quick lunch.  The rain subsided as I drove back to the park.  I even caught a few glimpses of blue sky.  By the time I arrived, the sun was out.  I was soon hiking the park's Gorge Trail toward the falls, about 3/4 mile from the parking lot.  Early in the hike, I saw this pool of water, fed by a few small cascades.

Further up the trail, I saw this step in the creek bed.  It was as if a layer of rock had been chopped away.

Here is a section of the cliff that forms the north side of the gorge.

This view shows the gorge curving toward the left.

Here's the falls, with a viewing area to the right.  The flow was rather meager, most likely due to the above-mentioned drought.  See the Democrat & Chronicle for a related story.

Near the falls was this section of the north side of the gorge.

I reached the viewing area, seen above, and took a shot of the bridge I had just crossed.  The apparent rectangular slot in the trees above the cliff is an overlook.

I took this telephoto shot of the top of the falls.

After I hiked back to the parking lot, I saw these two bridges, over which passes NY-89.  Taughannock Creek passes under the left bridge.  Under the right bridge, you can see a bit of Cayuga Lake in the background.

The name "Taughannock" looks like it could be a variant of "Tunkhannock", the name of a place in Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River, but I don't know if the two names are related.  For more information, go to Taughannock Falls and NY Falls.

Again, I headed back to Ithaca and then went southward on NY-13.  Unlike Taughannock Falls, my next destination was a place I that had previously known about and seen at least once a long time ago.

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