Friday, February 17, 2017

Along the Way: Mohawk Falls

Mohawk Falls as seen from the trail
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.

It could not have been a better day for hiking; the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky. There was a coolness lingering in the air, though it promised to be a warm day once the sun climbed to its place in the sky. Idealistically, it was the day to go for a hike.

Joined by cousins Susan and Kevin and my brother Zech, I was filled with excitement as I mentally prepared myself to explore a portion of the state I had never visited before.

Mohawk Falls
Photo courtesy of Susan
Standing at the top of Ganoga Glen I realized why the falls remained hidden from Colonel Ricketts for years. The woods absorbed the sound of the falling waters of Kitchen Creek until I was almost on top of them. The water ran swiftly past and I now could hear the waters roaring ahead. The rain two days before had the waters running rapidly and all four of us knew that we were in for an adventure.

Crossing over the branch of Kitchen Creek, we started the descent into the gorge.

The first waterfall that we encountered as we descended into Ganoga Glen was Mohawk Falls. These falls are roughly thirty-seven feet tall and are named in honor of one of the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Mahawk Falls
The Mohawks were one of the three "Elder Brothers," which allowed them a veto power within the Confederacy. The Mohawks were located on the Eastern Front of the Iroquois Confederacy and served as a blockade to any advancing settlers. They have been called "The Eastern Doorway," due to their location. If any outsiders were to enter the lands held by the Confederacy from the east, they would have to first go through the lands of the Mohawks. The Mohawks traditionally lived in the Mohawk Valley of New York, but their lands stretched beyond that, northward into present-day Ontario and Quebec.

I've discovered that Mohawk Falls is actually two falls in one. The top portion of the falls is a nine foot drop, forming a wall of water. The water then cascades down the rock formation to the base, over a series of smaller steps on the rock wall, for an additional twenty-eight feet.

Mohawk Falls from its base
Photograph courtesy of Kevin
Photographing Mohawk Falls can be done from the trail, but the best shots come from scrambling down the bank to a spot near the base. We followed a trail that had obviously been used by many and found that near perfect spot near the base of the falls to take a couple of pictures. If you choose to go off path please use extreme caution.

As I stood there taken in by the first waterfall, I could not even start to imagine the other falls. I was studying the map and the falls when Susan pointed out that I was in for a treat; if I liked this one, I was going to be completely blown away by Ganoga Falls.

Ever so cautiously, we made our way along the trail to the next major waterfall; Oneida Falls..

Mohawk Falls
Picture courtesy of Susan
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 journey and also for allowing the usage of their pictures in this article.

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