Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Get the Ark (Overflowing Waterfalls of Tompkins County)

I didn't sleep the night before Labor Day - booming explosions and bright flashes kept me awake.

One point three inches of rain?  Why yes, it's time for Waterfall Tour Extravaganza To Determine Most Awesome Waterfall 2013!

(Keywords:  I'm visiting Ithaca and I want to know the most popular waterfalls to visit.  Heh.)

First up:  Ithaca Falls.  Always a strong contender for Most Awesome Waterfall because it's not in a crowded park - it's just on the side of the road.

ithaca falls - typical flow
ithaca falls - 9/1/2013
I'm going to give this a 8.5/10.0.  We've got a super strong flow and a decent amount of spray.  Water color is white and foamy.  Gets an additional 0.5 points for the decent flooding in Fall Creek.  Still, I'm not getting that sort of "OMG I'm going to get blown off my feet by the power of that sucker."

Next up:  Lucifer Falls at Treman State Park.  YEAH BABY!  9.5/10.

lucifer falls from overlook - normal flow
lucifer falls - 9/1/2013
This got a 9.0 in the initial evaluation, but the Russian judge bumped it up an additional half point for the comparison between these two photos.  We've got increased width in the falls and a rainbow from all of the spray.  Lucifer Falls is bringing its game to capture the title of Most Awesome Waterfall!

Style points for water-based trail erosion closing the Gorge Trail.  This was as close as we could get:

lucifer falls from gorge trail - normal/ low flow
lucifer falls from gorge trail - 9/1/2013
Whew.  Is that spray from the falls or just a thin film of sweat from the adrenaline?

Third stop:  Buttermilk Falls State Park.  Buttermilk is usually pretty tame.  How did it stack up?

buttermilk falls - typical flow.  very chill.
buttermilk falls - 9/1/2013
7.5/10.0.  Considering Buttermilk Falls is usually a garden hose rather than a geyser, this increase is impressive.  But it can't compare to the other falls in the county.  Nice try, Buttermilk!

Last stop:  Taughannock Falls State Park.

taughannock falls state park - typical to slightly low flow
taughannock falls state park - 9/1/2013
Check out got a huge mist cloud filling up the "bowl" of the gorge.  Those falls are ripping!  Obvious increase in volume and thunderous from nearly a quarter mile away.  9.0/10.0.

So there you have it!  Final Rankings:

9.5/10.0:  Lucifer Falls, Treman State Park - Most Awesome Waterfall Award
9.0/10.0:  Taughannock Falls (State Park)
8.5/10.0:  Ithaca Falls
7.5/10.0:  Buttermilk Falls (State Park)

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