Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Along the Way: Cayuga Falls

Ganoga Branch of Kitchen Creek
Above the Cayuga Falls
I want to start with stating that the trails winding through Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh are steep in spots and can become slippery. Please be careful while visiting and hiking the area of the falls and please wear proper footwear.

Leaving Oneida Falls (which can be found here: Oneida Falls) behind us, our group of explorers continued down the gorge to the next waterfall. The rockiness of the trail was increasing as we descended deeper into the glen, We found ourselves stopping more and more to take pictures of the stream, the rocks, and the sky. Having just recently purchased a new camera, Susan and Kevin were teaching Zech and I some tricks and tips to make our pictures better.

By the time we left the Oneida Falls, the number of hikers on the trail had increased. The cool weather and recent rains had caused many people to visit the state park and enjoy the sites. While most grabbed a picture here and there, we knew where most of them where headed - to see Ganoga Falls, the largest in the park.

We, however, had a stop at one more waterfall before continuing to the park's gem.

Cayuga Falls
Photograph courtesy of Kevin
The smallest of the named waterfalls is Cayuga Falls, which is an eleven foot cascade. Photographing this waterfall was the biggest challenge of the day - most people merely passed us as Susan, Kevin and Zech tried to figure out a way to photograph the falls in such a way to bring forth their beauty.

A couple of books and websites state that this waterfall has no really photogenic appeal, but I would disagree. Of the waterfalls we visited, this small waterfall holds its own in comparison to its larger competition in the glen. The Ganoga Branch of Kitchen Creek flows around a large rock before flowing over the rocks to the creek below.

I believe the reason that most fail to appreciate it as much is because it is very hard to photograph as a whole. While we were there, the thing I heard my three companions mutter the most was that the nearside of the falls was bathed in sunlight, while the far falls was in the shadows of the trees. Finding the perfect shot is nearly impossible.

The falls are named in honor of the Cayugas, who were one of the five original members of the Iroquois Confederacy. The "People of the Great Swamp," made their home in the Finger Lake region of New York, along the shores of Cayuga Lake. The traditional homelands of the Cayuga were destroyed in 1779 when General Sullivan marched into New York State and burned most of the Cayuga villages to the ground in an effort to crush the power of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Cayuga Falls
Sadly when the other members of the Iroquois Confederacy were given reservation lands in New York, the Cayugas were overlooked. Those Cayuga living in New York survive on Seneca reservations.

We left the falls and continued along the trail. We had only gone a short distance before we could hear the sound of falling water. We had arrived at the gem of Ricketts Glen. We had arrived at Ganoga Falls. The sound of the water was deafening.

With the roar of the water around us, echoing from the rocky walls of the glen, we prepared to descend the trail to the base of Ganoga Falls.

Again, please be careful while visiting and hiking the area of the falls

A note of thanks: A big thank you goes out to Susan and Kevin for joining me on this adventure and also for allowing the usage of their pictures in this article.

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