THE TORRENTS OF MAY

No, this isn’t a romance novel.  It’s just spring in Greene County, New York.  That’s the Catskills but after several posts about the area over the years I felt the need for a new kind of title.

I recently revisited the area along with several photographers from the South Jersey Camera Club and the Cranbury Digital Camera Club.  We enjoyed plenty of violently rushing water and falls; hence the title but we also enjoyed lots of fresh spring greenery.

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The streams were running heavy, producing foamy cascades on their way to the Hudson River Valley, overwhelming former mountain trolls such as this one.

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A special target for us on every trip is Kaaterskill Falls which drops 260′ in two sections making it one of the largest falls in New York State.  The first drop of 167′ leads to a swimmable pool  in a large rock amphitheater which I’ve not yet visited as it’s tough to get there.  This spring, however, saw me finally at the top of the falls, accessible after a short hike to the trail head down Laurel Creek Road off of Lake Road above Tannersville.  I walked down there a few years ago but there was no trail head then.

We arrived at Spruce Creek, the top image below, which drains the eastern escarpment and feeds the falls.  A pivot to the right reveals the lip of the first fall (167′) in the image on the left.  This has been a spot for injuries and deaths of people slipping and going over.  It was scary to one whose knees quickly become jelly in such situations.  On the right below is 71′ high Bastion Falls just below Kaaterskill, and another step-down of Spruce Creek.  Spruce Creek continues on a wild ride along Route 23A and joins another creek to become Kaaterskill Creek.  We see it at bottom,  photographed in the rain as it heads for a bridge crossing on Route 32 south of Palenville, almost 4 miles from Bastion Falls.

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There had been so much rain added to the normal runoff of spring that small falls … mini-falls … burst from the rock faces along the roads.  Here was such a scene just up the road from Bastion Falls.  The scene was about 5′ in height.

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We also usually visit an old, deteriorating inn, the Cold Spring Resort, located on Spruce Street south of Tannersville.  Members of our group have researched its history and turned up an ad for the property for 1902.  It is said that it has been closed for about fifty years.  Brave colleagues entered a ground floor pantry and found dishes piled up, ready for service, and a couple jugs of muscatel.  Laundry machines had been sitting on the front porch for a couple of years but they disappeared during the weekend.  The end is in sight.  Each year we find some other part of it that has collapsed and we wonder when it will totally disappear.  This inside corner has given up since my last visit here a couple of years ago.

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Amongst and between all of the falls and old inns there is the dramatic vista here and there, the kind of thing that drew artists and vacationers to the Catskills Resorts in their heyday.

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We were a little early for spring flowers but the lilacs bloomed in profusion and filled the air with their fragrance.

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There is a gallery of these and more related images.  Click here.

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4 Responses to “THE TORRENTS OF MAY”

  1. Virginia Rice Says:

    Love your work, you should write a book as your writing skill is inspiring.

  2. eajackson Says:

    Beautiful images and interesting story along with them. Great morning read. The top of Kaaterskill Falls is a hard one to capture just how dramatic it truly is. I think your photo shows exactly that. For sure that is a place you do not want to slip!

  3. Skip Vandegrift Says:

    Lovely, lovely work. As sharp as ever.


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