The Thaw at Taughannock Falls

A Friday Evening Stroll through a February Thaw

Pam and I were drawn outside the day after Valentine’s a bit of sun, an unreliable warm breeze, a promise of exercise. Our expectations were disappointed for all but the last at the foot of the Taughannock Falls gorge trail.

We had a reminder mid-February marks the start of avian mating behavior with this addition to the view from Taughannock Creek, the first large waterfall. For the cold, drizzly excursion I chose the IPhone, in a waterproof case, for the images. The fanicful birdhouse inscription reads “The Old Birds from Pa.”

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The winding gorge takes a general east, southeasterly direction. Where the sun cannot reach the snow was reduced to a treacherous slushy ice mix more nasty than dangerous.

View from the Overlook on the way to the trail. This is the endpoint of our hike, viewed from the gorge rim.

Of all the area hiking experiences, Taughannock Gorge Trail is the only one available year round. The gorge is wide with enough room for the footpath to avoid the cliff edge. Today, there were places were ice formations were throwing large ice chunks down the slope. The park ranges place tree trunks along the cliff base, with warning signs to stay away. Still, there are visitors who stray too close with fatal outcomes reported by local news.

Pam was fascinated by the appearance of snow and ice accumulated on the talus, here seen from the Taughannock Falls viewing bridge.

Click photograph for my “Finger Lakes Memories” online gallery. Photo by Pam.

You can just pick out the viewing bridge in the Falls Overlook video.

Click photograph for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Online Gallery.
Photo by Pam.

Taughannock Falls bound by ice is a most dramatic sight. I need to post photographs from a 2005 visit during an especially frigid February. Here, the falls have thrown off the ice, leaving this house-size chunk.

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The surrounding gorge walls are continually frost coated by the mist.

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210 foot Taughannock Falls from the viewing bridge.

In more clement seasons the Gorge Trail ends much closer to the falls. Today, it was closed as, during winter and especially thaws, blocks of the sandstone cap break away to fall with great force across that part of the trail. This viewing area is visible in the Falls Overlook video.

Taughannock Gorge Trail late winter hike

sights during a 4 mile hike on icy trails around Taughannock Gorge

Wednesday afternoon this week my exercise was a 4 mile hike around the Taughannock Falls Gorge on the north and south rim trail. I parked at the Overlook and took in a view of Taughannock Falls in the gorge below.

The video and pics are from my Apple IPhone.

I then headed south on the North Rim Trail. It was slow going because the trail was solid ice in many places. Throughout the walk was evidence of the great work of the park maintence crew preparing for spring.

A bridge over the creek transitions from the North to South Rim trails. Here is an overview of the dramatic site below this bridge.

The trail ice forced me off onto the Gorge Road that parallels the trail. Even without the ice, a portion of the trail is closed for the winter due to dangerous conditions. There are interesting sites along this road.

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Walking downhill only this medium-sized bark is visible, the road curves around to bring into view a tiny farmhouse, now abondoned, dwarfed by the barn.

I took a detour to explore a small cemetery just off Gorge Road on a shelf above the Taughannock Farms Inn.

Overview of this small cemetery overlooking Cayuga Lake

The lower falls is another worthy detour before I rejoined the Rim trail to climb up the north side of the gorge.

One of many Rim Trail overlooks. That is the Gorge Trail, below.

In this approximate 4 miles there is a 2088 foot change in altitude (1044 up and down). I took my time for an enjoyable 2 hours.

An Afternoon’s Exercise Around Taughannock Gorge

Yesterday afternoon was bright, sunny enough for me to break out of the winter exercise routine for a walk around Taughannock Falls, a New York State Park 7.5 miles from the front door through farmland and small villages with views of Cayuga Lake.

The route around the gorge, following the North and South Rim trails with a side trip to the edge of Cayuga Lake is 3 miles with a modest elevation change of about 500 feet.

My route began at the top with a cell phone, from the Falls Overlook, there is a gradual slope, until the end where flights of steep stone steps end at the gorge floor. The steps were free of ice and snow.

These photographs are from the cell phone. Here is the lake and a portion of the gorge. Yes, the lake is a dark blue on sunny days and is ice free this year. Another trail follows the gorge floor to below the falls, I opted out of the additional 1.5 miles today in the interest of finishing well before sunset.

Click any photograph to visit my Fine Art version of Taughannock Falls.

Taughannock Gorge and Cayuga Lake from the North Rim Trail – CLICK ME for my Fine Art version of Taughannock Falls.

I have a few versions of these South Rim Trail stone steps taken at this perfect time of day, the low sun through the trees. Built in the 1930s by Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corp, the steps and the entire trail are a work of art.

Climbing up from the gorge to the South Rim Trail – CLICK ME for my Fine Art version of Taughannock Falls.

The far view of Taughannock Falls always fascinated me. I’ve never done it justice. There are several view points from the South Rim, overlooking the gorge were it bends to the south with only the upper third of the falls visible. The flow today was photogenic. I used the cell phone zoom to catch the view between the trunks of two trees.

View of the falls from the South Rim – CLICK ME for my Fine Art version of Taughannock Falls.

The top of the south rim was the only ice. It is there through April some years. Here is the closest, full view of Taughannock Falls from the North Rim. It is the same view you will find in my Fine Art version of the falls.

View of the falls from the North Rim – CLICK ME for the Fine Art version of Taughannock Falls.

And a cell phone video of the falls for the full effect.

Enjoy!!

A Far Country XI: Gondwana Part 1

amazing resolution with the Canon 24 mm lens

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The resolution of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM makes this lens a favorite of mine for landscape work.  Let me show you why.

The valley today’s posting lies behind the tree.  It is a broad valley shaped by ancient glaciers.

Here is the Google Earth view, from an elevation of 9,400 feet, with the ship position marked.  Northwest is a pushpin titled, “Hanging Valley and Waterfall.”

A Far Country X– CLICK ME!!!!

The waterfall marking the hanging valley is visible in the following photograph.   All photographs in this posting are from a Canon EOS-1Ds MarkIII, 24 mm lens (see above for complete name), on a Manfrotto travel tripod.  ISO 500, f5.6 or f6.3.

With a point of view about 50 feet above the water the valley bottom is hidden behind an 800 foot hill and the water fall is just above the hill.  See it?  …..I didn’t think so.

There is the island with the tree, to the left.  The following image is the same photograph, with the central section enlarged.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The enlargement brings out the play of light, the low clouds, deep in the valley.  To provide scale, know those are full sized pines on the hillside, foreground.  The waterfall is just about visible.  I will enlarge the image one more time.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

There it is!!  I stepped up contrast, as well.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is another version of the original view.  That patch of sky had opened up seconds after the first shot and, as a result, the 3,000 door mountain and waterfalls, on right, are better lit.  Notice the bare rock face on the mountain slope, marking a landslide.

Click this image for a high resolution version, in your browser.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

A different landslide Scar is featured in two previous blogs,

A Far Country V: Landslides!!

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

The Regatta’s course brought us closer for the two following shots.

The lovely sky is still visible…..

Mountain and Waterfalls

….one minute later the clouds gather and relative darkness returns.

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country X: Hanging Valley

amazing resolution with the Canon 24 mm lens

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)

The resolution of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM makes this lens a favorite of mine for landscape work.  Let me show you why.

The valley today’s posting lies behind the tree.  It is a broad valley shaped by ancient glaciers.

Here is the Google Earth view, from an elevation of 9,400 feet, with the ship position marked.  Northwest is a pushpin titled, “Hanging Valley and Waterfall.”

A Far Country X– CLICK ME!!!!

The waterfall marking the hanging valley is visible in the following photograph.   All photographs in this posting are from a Canon EOS-1Ds MarkIII, 24 mm lens (see above for complete name), on a Manfrotto travel tripod.  ISO 500, f5.6 or f6.3.

With a point of view about 50 feet above the water the valley bottom is hidden behind an 800 foot hill and the water fall is just above the hill.  See it?  …..I didn’t think so.

There is the island with the tree, to the left.  The following image is the same photograph, with the central section enlarged.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The enlargement brings out the play of light, the low clouds, deep in the valley.  To provide scale, know those are full sized pines on the hillside, foreground.  The waterfall is just about visible.  I will enlarge the image one more time.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

There it is!!  I stepped up contrast, as well.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is another version of the original view.  That patch of sky had opened up seconds after the first shot and, as a result, the 3,000 door mountain and waterfalls, on right, are better lit.  Notice the bare rock face on the mountain slope, marking a landslide.

Click this image for a high resolution version, in your browser.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The Regatta’s course brought us closer for the two following shots.

The lovely sky is still visible…..

Mountain and Waterfalls

….one minute later the clouds gather and relative darkness returns.

Fjord and Valley

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country IX: Bonsai Shape

Compelling Plant Shapes

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Here is a Google Earth view of Tempanos Fjord from 9,400 feet, looking north, northwest over a point on the fjord 6.5 miles from Iceberg Glacier, at 4 pm local time on February 17, 2016.  This view is interesting for the insignificant island, .75 mile long, and broad mountain valley to the north fringed with waterfalls.

Marked is the location of a tree, “bonsai”, a feature of the fjord cliffs, “Landslide Scar” and a neighboring Fjord, “Farquhar Fjord.”

This blog features the tree.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The Farquhar Fjord entrance opens onto the entrance of Tempanos Fjord and is the last photograph.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

A photograph from our port side stateroom deck includes both the island and broad valley.  The misshapen tree, the “bonsai”, is on an islet to the right and in front of the island.  It is the small stump backlit by water reflection.  The stump is more interesting than can be seen in this image from a handheld camera, at 24 mm.  I used the variable lens for a closer look.

24 mm bonsai view– CLICK ME!!!!

From this 133 mm, f8.0, 1/250 sec and ISO 800, still handheld, interesting details come into view.  The islet is a rock on which clings a bed of moss.  Several ferns, a sapling (on the far side) and a stump, on the right, are surviving.  The stump presumably supported a small tree of which a “bonsai-like” twig remains.

Bonsai are fascinating, created through the art and skill of emulating pleasing natural forms.  Here the moss encrusted twists and miniature tree crown were formed from a difficult environment.  Bonsai of Japan originated from an ancient Chinese tradition of penjing (“tray plant”).  The inspiration for this are, at origin and now, must be, in part, from admiration of the tenacity and beauty of these plants.

133 mm bonsai view– CLICK ME!!!!

At the 200 mm maximum my Sony Alpha 770 (1/400, f9, ISO 800) image is a little fuzzy, still with great details.

From my interest in bonsai I am on the lookout for shapes such as this. Travelling the challenging environment of the Chilean Fjords I found examples here and there.

200 mm bonsai view – CLICK ME!!!!

 

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country VII: View of Tempanos Fjord

A mountain and waterfall ringed bowl.

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4:00 pm local time the Oceania was approximately 5 miles from the Iceberg Glacier, moving forward at a slow rate of speed, 4.6 knots.  Here are more views of the mountain-ringed bowl behind a 1,000 foot cliff.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

Both photographs are handheld using my Sony Alpha700, ISO 800, variable lens set to 45mm, 1/250 f13.  At the same time I shot from a tripod mounted Cannon, 24 mm wide angle fixed focus lens.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The following capture from Google Earth is the view from 12,200 feet.  Regatta’s position is the “5 miles from Iceberg Glacier” pushpin.  The formation is almost due north.  We were surprised to see a ranger station in this uninhabited area, not yet in view.  The white line, lower right, is the border between the Aisen (north) and Magellanic (south) Chilean regions.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

Fjord View

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By 3:20 pm local time the Oceania was approximately 1.75 miles from the Iceberg Glacier and the captain positioned the ship for a starboard side glacier view.  From our port side stateroom terrace Pam and I had this sweeping view of the way we had come.

Tempanos Fjord is a mile across here and we have a clear view of the landslide scar feature in my last blog.  It is 7.75 miles distant, a small white patch on the fjord wall.  The landscape scar marks where the fjord bends, changing north, northeast course to an east, southeast direction.  Before the bend, the Iceberg glacier is not visible.  Turn the bend and the glacier is plainly visible in the distance if the viewer is looking over the ship bow.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The following capture from Google Earth is the view from 14,000 feet.  Marked are the locations of the landslide scar and the ship position were I first photographed the scar on our way into Tempanos Fjord.  The red lined ship’s course may be followed out of the fjord back to the Messier Channel.  The fjord follows a course among mountain peaks and deep valleys.   A great pleasure of sailing Tempanos Fjord is the many vistas opening one to another.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country V: Landslides!!!

All is Larger than it First Appears

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By 2:45 pm local time the Oceania was almost 4 miles into Tempanos Fjord, 10.5 miles from the Iceberg Glacier, when this telling gash on a mountain buttress forming the side of one of many glacial valleys.

First View of the Landslide scar– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is the Google Earth overview of our course that day through Tempanos Fjord, as the red line. Visible is the Farquhar Fjord, to the north. Marked is the position of the scar and the approximate position where I took the first view. Where the fjord bends to the southeast the glacier is not yet visible.

Overview of Mouth of Tempanos Fjord– CLICK ME!!!!

The scar, for all the rawness of the stone, is not recent. There was time for a forest to cover the destruction. The Oceania steamed past, making steady progress. The gash appeared ahead, unremarked. I wonder what the effect was after the cracks, slowly widened over decades by the ice, forced friction to give way to gravity, the mountainside sliding, perhaps, into the fjord. Hard to tell. There is no remnants of the slide visible.

Approaching the Scar -- CLICK ME!!!!

All is larger than it first appears.  Those are full size pines below the scar.  It is the steepness of the cliff face that holds off the vegetation, the whiteness of the rock the source of the apparent freshness of the gash.

Long Lens on the Scar -- CLICK ME!!!!

The mountainsides are threaded with waterfalls. Look closely to the left of the gash for a very thin line ending in a spray.

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TCopyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country IV: Tempanos Fjord

The environment around Iceberg Glacier….

This is a view of the fjord countryside from the Oceania Regatta position about 4.75 miles from Iceberg Glacier . As the Regatta proceeded at the slow rate of 4.6 knots, I captured this high valley and waterfall from the position marked with the central pushpin in the following GoogleEarth image from 14,000 feet altitude.

CLICK ME!!!!

The following photograph is the view North.  The far waterfalls are fed by two mountain top lakes, waters that feed into Tempanos Fjord.  We are in the Chilean Aisen (also spelled Aysen) Region (XI) looking into a valley between Tempanos, Farquhar and Bernardo fjords.  This island and valley has NO name, as far as I can tell.  The region is uninhabited, part of the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park.

A Far Country: Tempanos Fjord 004

This was taken with a handheld Sony DSLR-A700, the variable lens at 200mm, 1/800 sec at f/13.