September 9, 2011

Ithaca Flood Tour

After being overwhelmed by the sight of a swollen Fall Creek yesterday morning, I thought it would be fun for Rob and me to visit our other favorite waterfalls in the area to see how exaggerated their flows had become after the storm.

We began at Ithaca Falls.

Rob used to live about a block from this lovely falls and we've visited it many times in the past. Here's a picture he took of me standing in front of the giant cascade a couple years ago. Yes, I promise, I am in the photo...look to the lower right...

Impressive right? Well, Ithaca Falls is also created by Fall Creek and is located not too far below the rushing madness on the Cornell campus I showed you yesterday. I'm sure you understand why this falls was first on our list!

You can see the falls from the road and as we drove over the bridge towards the parking lot we caught a brief but tantalizing glimpse of the raging torrent through the trees. We parked the car and started walking back toward the bridge. Even though the waterfall is set pretty far back in the gorge, our clothes were already being dampened by a fine windy mist in the air.

When we attempted to enter the park and take our usual route up to the base of the falls we were stopped dead in our tracks by a tremendous flood coursing through the gorge at a terrifying pace. The entire area had been inundated.



We couldn't get close enough to glimpse any of the falls this way, so we turned back to see how good the view was from the road. Unfortunately, we were never able to see more than 1/3 of Ithaca falls, but with a little use of the imagination, could recreate within our minds the full fury of the scene.

Next stop, Taughannock.

Here's a shot I took from the overlook 2 years ago...

And here's what we saw from the same spot yesterday...

With its elegantly translucent bridal veil thickened and muddied by the flood, it was easy to see how such a flow could have carved out its gorge over the ages. Indeed, when I got home and started looking through past photos I noticed something interesting. The first time Rob and I visited Taughannock, I was struck by one particularly geometric shale formation just to the right of the falls.

Now that I've seen many such formations I am less surprised by them, but at the time I was completely bewildered by the nearly perfect 90 degree angles cut into the rock face.

Here's the same spot taken this past December. Notice any changes?

And here is yesterday's shot. Different again, yes?

"GEOLOGIC TIME IS NOW."
When you encounter a sign that cautions passers by to watch for falling rocks...believe it!

Lastly, we drove back up to Cornell so Rob could get a good look at the scene I'd observed on the footbridge that morning. We had just enough time to watch a few gigantic dead trees fall over the menacing precipice before we had to head back home for Obama's address. I was lucky enough to film one of them on its way to a spectacular destruction...

1 comment:

  1. super cool, Kelly! I'm sure it's breathtaking in person.

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