Have you heard of this place?
I asked some fellow NYC residents to come with me to the High Falls Gorge, but they looked at me completely puzzled, with 1 of them asking “why would I ever go to a gorge? A GORGE???!!!??” Another answered “I’m on a diet so no!” Another answered “is that related to Grunge?” It was funny to hear these people respond because none of them knew what a gorge was, not the noun definition anyway, so, that made them immediately reject even hearing more about it, as didn’t sound like something which could possibly be pleasurable. LOL
Not as obscure as you think
The gorge I was speaking about is a rocky-walled, narrow valley between mountains (or hills), with a stream running through it. We have all seen MANY gorges. You too might never have heard of a gorge or escarpments, or whatever, but you’ve definitely SEEN a gorge before, even as recent in the HBO show “The Succession” Season 2 Episode 2 “Argestes.” In fact, in many cases, the words “canyon” and “gorge” are interchangeable because canyons are also escarpments formed by glacier or water erosion that have occurred over great periods of time leading to the partition of the rocky structures. See, not that obscure! The High Falls Gorge is a well-known gorge located upstate New York, USA, in the Adirondack Park and centers around/over the Ausable River. It’s floors are compromised of the same found on the moon, “anorthosite”, which has a particular look to it on a wet, misty day. I love taking walks by rivers when it’s not sunny outside, it really gives character to the land.
Trying to get native New York City residents to go to see anything in upstate New York, which takes more than 2 hours, is no small feat. Everyone is so lazy, but they’re missing out on some really good beauty right in our own backyard. Full disclosure, it takes 5 hours to get from New York City to the Wilmington / Lake Placid area in the Adirondacks. We went to the gorge expecting not to find anyone there since it was raining and foggy, and with it being in upstate New York, sure enough, there was almost nobody around but locals walking dogs on the trails. Sure, it had rained, but I personally think this is the perfect time to go there specifically because there won’t be huge crowds of people in the way and you can get come great contrasts with the clouds in the background. These conditions are great to contrast against the 4 waterfalls you will find there (e.g., Rainbow Falls, Climax Falls, Mini Falls, Main Falls). The lighting will fall off in some areas of the location as you drop from the Main Falls of 35-foot-high, to the 5-foot-high Mini Falls, to the 20-foot-high Rainbow Falls (no, not the other Rainbow Falls at Ausable Chasm). So, it can be a great lighting challenge, as well.
To pay or not to pay
The gorge is not a cheap price either, it’s $13.50 USD per person, as every gorge is monetized in some way, in the area. I tried to get into area prior to knowing this bit of information, and when I was spotted, I was told to go pay. LOL I’ve paid less to enter FULL National Parks (this is PRIVATELY OWNED) that go on for MILES, so, I was surprised by the cost to enter this tiny, 22 acre, half a mile, 30 minute walk area. Hell, if I’m going to pay that much to get to see the falls then I want no people crowding everything up!
If you can get past the price, and I KNOW you will not if you are bringing a big group, the gorge is like a slice of Canadian Rockies but right in New York State. The waters are always flowing strong, you can hear the powerful roars as you drive down Route 86, and you have up-close views of the waterfall there, plus you have the overlooks due to the gorge-crossing walkways. Others who had been to the area didn’t recognize the High Falls Gorge from the pictures I showed them. This is because they went in the Summer, and I go during the Fall. Summer and Winter are popular times to frequent the area, but during Autumn, you can get some pretty colors surrounding the gorge, during the fall foliage time, adding greatly to the scenery. These particular pictures (on this post) were taken when there was not much lighting, and there was a light, down-pouring of rain, which brought a very different vibe to the area that would it a day where there was full sun shining around the area- not to mention challenge to photograph it in these conditions. Previously, I was in the area, on a clear day, and I can tell you that the view was not the same as the rainy day, nor would I have wanted to pay that entry price on the clear day because it was just MEH to me then. So, going in Fall will give you the best mix of colors and vibe, to the High Falls Gorge.
As always, the finished products can be found on the main site of www.drunkphotography.com.