Travel | Exploration | Hiking | Nature

Visiting the Cascades of Attica

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run


Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep

—Kenny Rogers, The Gambler

When you find a few minutes in your day, googling “waterfalls near me” can net some great micro adventures. Today’s search brought me to a pristine 60 foot waterfall just five minutes down the road from a famous prison that looks like a castle in the cornfields. The waterfall felt like you were in another universe. And it was just where I needed to be between my second and third meetings on a busy day in Upstate New York.

There are a few web sites that describe the cascades. I found this one helpful for understanding what I was walking into. Private property, three cascades within a few hundred meters of the road, well defined path… got it. Of course, it didn’t mention the slippery layer cake hazard of fresh snow on wet leaves on gooey mud that a visitor in December might confront, but things change and we must adjust to whatever we’re presented with. I attempted to reach the 60 foot plunge from both shores, recognizing both offered potential views but also potential for an untimely end to my time on this earth. There was no one to hear me scream as I slipped down the path, over the cliff and down the ice cold river. So why tempt fate? The secret to survivin’ is knowin’ what to throw away. And knowin’ what to keep.

But I couldn’t walk away without getting a “close enough” picture. I slipped on the micro spikes, grabbed hold of the rope someone generously left for just such foolhardy acts and made my way down to the top of the falls. Not the dangerous part, mind you, but the part some folks in my life would question my sanity for getting anywhere near. Daring, but not reckless… Hey that’s me!. Maybe someday I’ll be back and conditions will be perfect for a walk downstream and then up the river bed for that classic waterfall shot. This wasn’t that day. But it was still an adventure. If only a small one.

Cascades from as close as I could safely get
The other shore was even more daunting

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