Monday, April 28, 2014

Ricketts Glen SP - Day 2 - Ganoga Glen (Part 3)

Highland Trail and Ganoga Glen
At the top of Glen Leigh, we turn west onto the Highlands trail to cut across the top of the plateau and pick up the Falls trail at the top of Ganoga Glen on the other side. There is an earth cache up here that we won't be doing as I do not have the information ready to go with regards to multiple additional way points, and don't want to slow us down while I figure it out. No matter, I already know we will be back at some point, and I will be ready then. Midway along the Highlands trail we pass through Midway Crevasse, a cool spot where a huge piece of rock formation has broken off from the parent ledge 50 yards or so to the north and made its way downhill, fracturing as it went.
Midway Crevasse

Ganoga Glen is the steeper of the two sides (by a little) but we are going downhill on steps and switchbacks, so the hiking remains easy. The distractions remain spectacular as well. There are ten named waterfalls on this branch, including six big ones. 

Even the smaller ones are gorgeous, and could be the single centerpiece of a hike any other place.
Oneida - perfect "block" fall

Wave after wave of scenic beauty is becoming a bit mind-numbing. Almost. Until we get to Ganoga Falls, which at 94 feet is the crown jewel of the hike. Again, pictures do not do it justice, and the sound of the water pounding down the cliff and the feel of the cool mist spray is missing. I'm not sure what words would describe it properly. Awesome, the most overused word in the English language, would actually fit here very well. Not awesome in the "good" sense. Awesome in the "jaw-dropping-wow" sense. It was weird standing at the top. You could get to within a few feet of the edge on a rock ledge, and doing so and looking down didn't scare me at all. But standing back and watching Dave and Leo do exactly the same thing was bordering on terrifying. Its a very long way down onto a lot of rocks. Falling would be bad. Watching somebody else fall would also be bad.
Ganoga - view from the top

After an appropriate amount of gawking and picture taking, we followed the steps and switchbacks down to the bottom where we did more of the same, followed by a brief lunch of PB&J sandwiches and sourdough pretzel nuggets. Everything tastes better outdoors on the trail.
Ganoga (94 feet)

On the Glen Leigh side, we saw a few other people but not many. By the time we are coming down Ganoga Glen in the afternoon there is a steady trickle of people heading in both directions. Not exactly the Los Angeles freeway (which apparently this can be like on a nice summer day), but a routine occurrence. We have timed the hike perfectly in that regard as well it seems. I would have expected more people on a perfect Spring day. The handful we are seeing is no big deal, and every waterfall is not obstructed by swarms of other people taking pictures and wading around in the pools.

Seneca/Delaware was another combination falls like Shawnee/Huron which had some great geology, and great trail construction around the exposed rock walls.
Dropping into Seneca/Delaware

The remainder of the Ganoga side went all too quickly, with Delaware (37'), Mohican (39'), and the final pair of Tuscarora and Erie at 47 feet each.
Mohican (39 feet)

When we do come back, and we plan to, we will hike this the other way around, coming up Ganoga Glen and down Glen Leigh. It is a shame to have to approach any of these falls from the uphill side. As you come down, many of the best views of the falls are behind you. This is mitigated somewhat by the wonderful views you have of the glens opening up below you as you descend.
Tuscarora (47 feet)

1:12pm - We arrive back at Waters Meet, about 2:45 after reaching this point on the way up. We have done about 5.2 miles out of 7. My legs feel great but my feet are starting to feel some soreness. Nothing uncomfortable or alarming, just my feets' way of telling me that this isn't the same as sitting at a desk all day every day. It feels good.

2:02pm - We arrive back at the trailhead after a quiet walk back along Kitchen Creek. There is one last waterfall just below the parking lot on route 118, Adams Falls, and we will check that out before leaving. Especially since it is part of one of the two earth caches Dave and I are doing...

Next...Adams Falls and a Recap

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