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.

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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.

Across the Plain

Sere grasses

The Finger Lakes are formed by a series of inclined planes spread across central New York State.

Here we look northwest across the land between Cayuga and Seneca lakes, all forests and farm land. Seneca Lake is not visible,15 miles distant, and the Finger Lakes National Forest in between.

The only town is Hector, New York, population 4,854 in the 2,000 census. The foreground are sere grasses, a field of beef cattle and pond.

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Autumn Apple Orchard, landscape orientation

compare portrait vs. landscape orientation.

Unharvested apples on the ground and branches of this apple orchard off Black Oak Road on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield in the Finger Lakes of New York.

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Autumn Apple Orchard, portrait orientation

apples cling into winter

Unharvested apples on the ground and branches of this apple orchard off Black Oak Road on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield in the Finger Lakes of New York.

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Black Oak View

Autumn Ridge

Black Oak Road approaches Connecticut Hill from the north. At this point a long view to west opens up that include Cayuta Lake and the distant highlands of Seneca Lake.

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Autumn Road

A Long View

Here we have a vista of Bostwick Road descent off West hill into the Enfield valley and, then, in the distance, up Harvey Hill. Late autumn foliage graces the scene.

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Last Hike

A sllideshow

Thank You for exploring the South Rim trail of Taughannock Falls State Park on the last perfectly sunny autumn day of 2019.

A sunny November Walk

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Click me for the first post of this series, “Cuteness Break.”

Lone Elm

Among Hemlocks

A Rock Elm, late to turn in autumn, stands among a hemlock grove on the South Rim Trail of Taughannock Falls Park, Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

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Rock Elm Autumn

Taughannock Gorge south rim trail passes close to Gorge Road at one point. Rock Elm is an understory tree that comes into its own late autumn.

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November Star

Elms thrive in the understory, turning late to catch autumn sunlight.

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Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills