Taughannock Falls State Park is in Ulysses, New York, USA, just off the southern end of Cayuga Lake. Its main feature, Taughannock Falls, is the largest vertical single-drop waterfall in the Northeastern US at 215 feet (Yes, it's higher than Niagara Falls). Formed when Taughannock Creek, feeding into Cayuga Lake, eroded the soft rock underneath it and the falls gradually moved about a mile back from the lake.

Entering the park from the entrance near Cayuga Lake is an impressive experience. You wander up a nice wooded trail for a little less than a mile, while a gorge grows up around you and the sound of water gets louder and louder... Then you turn a corner and are faced with an enormous amount of falling water.

I visited Taughannock Falls for the first time this past summer, when the riverbed was nearly dry, which allowed everyone so inclined to hike up to the waterfall along the tan, scalloped sandstone, taking refreshing dips in the small pools along the meandering stream. I visited the falls again today, on a bright winter day that was cold enough to maintain the shape of the various forms of frozen water, yet warm enough so as to not necessitate bundling up.

The gorge and the waterfall very much appeal to the aesthetic of most hikers and nature aficionados, and today, having carried my personal notebook along for the hike up the beaten path of snow along the river into the heart of the gorge, I was sufficiently inspired to compose a small, twenty-line poem commemorating its natural beauty. I figured I would include with the poem some information about the falls and park, so here are some items not mentioned by plink.

The summer of 2003 will mark the 25th year of the Taughannock Falls Summer Concert Series, which offers an eclectic set of musical artists, which this year will include, among others, the Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band, the folksy females of The Burns Sisters, and the roots reggae outfit John Brown's Body.

In the camping area situated across N.Y. Rt. 89 from Cayuga Lake, there are 78 campsites and 17 cabins for the relaxation and enjoyment of all, and near the park office there is a marina and boat launch point. Also on the park grounds, there is a bathhouse/beach area for warm weather recreation, and a sledding and skating pond for cold weather diversion. Two North Point Shelters exist, one lakeside, one riverside, which are basically pavilions with walls, I think; my information on this is second-hand. There is also a very nice Falls Overlook point at the brink of the gorge, from which it can be fun to try and throw snowballs into the slender river.

Here is my poem; I think it's probably of moderate quality. The text is designed to simulate the wending way of the river.

windless evergreen twig-filled snow

undulating briskly flowing stream

darkened water forming stones
towering hardened sed'mentary battlements

unconsciously sheltering ragnarok's change

cavernous amphitheater of rust-tinted rock

blackened fertility caressing the slopes

jagged ice shields, templar's regalia

cracking granite, stable and strong

lime green tea dome's surface sprinkled
carv-ed bulge of crystalline snow

crumbling vanguard of eons ago

scions of ancestors, wooden and verde

cascading memory, purity of force

infant invasion by curious forms

scattered oblivion, decaying life
billowing mist from silence severed

frosted skeletal whispering limbs

trickling icicles sustaining pool

beautiful rage of the water's descent; birthspring of the magnificent sphere.

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