I'm taking a break this Tuesday from our usual historical fare because I've got something wicked neat to show you...so if you don't mind...
The weekend before this past one the Doyle family took a road trip to western New York to visit Doyle Child #1 at his college on lovely Seneca Lake, one of the famed Finger Lakes. In addition to our usual activities when we're out there, like visiting wineries like Hermann J. Weimer and Red Tail Ridge--it's fascinating to see the hillsides covered with grapevines and have a chance to chat with the chief winemaker while he's sorting late-harvest riesling grapes for a special dessert wine...and buying the world’s best cider and juices at Red Jacket Orchard--we paid a visit to the town at the very bottom (southern) end of the lake, Watkins Glen, to visit the amazing Watkins Glen State Park.
Have I ever mentioned that we’re geology buffs? Well, Watkins Glen State Park was sheer heaven…but you don’t have to be interested in rocks to appreciate what a beautiful place it is!
So here's the background story. A pretty huge part of New York state was, for millions of years in the Paleozoic Era, at the bottom of the ocean. Which means that the rock that we see there now is made up of former ocean bottom sediment, layers of siltstone and shale and other sedimentary rocks hundreds of feet thick and hundreds of millions of years old. If you've ever driven down Interstate 90/the New York Throughway, you've seen it by the sides of the road and in the deep road cuts--it's pretty interesting rock!
Seneca and the other Finger Lakes of New York are more recent in origin--they were left behind after the retreat of the last glacier about ten thousand years ago. Now what does water generally do? Run downhill, of course. For the last ten thousand years, Glen Creek has been flowing downhill toward Seneca Lake, and in the process, it's worn down through all those ancient layers of shale and siltstone, to create the amazing gorge of Watkins Glen.
Even the parking lot is cool--the 200 ft. cliffs here gave us a hint of what was to come: And almost immediately, you meet the first waterfall. There are 19 of them all together: There were stairs...lots of stairs. But that was neat, because it meant that sometimes you were up high near the top of the gorge, and at others, down at water level, giving you both perspectives.
Walking behind waterfalls...very cool! Doyle Child #2 thought so, anyway:Eddies in the creek have carved circular potholes in the riverbed. That's looking straight down about 70 feet up on a bridge crossing the gorge: And it just gets cooler...
And cooler: And cooler still (that's another waterfall, Rainbow Falls, that you can walk behind--it flows right off the top of the gorge): We loved it and will certainly be going back in the spring--if you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it! Now, how could I work this place into a story some day...?