This is one of my favorite spots at Stony Brook. Near the southern end of the gorge, close to the campground area, it’s one of the quieter places you’ll find here. Most people don’t get this far, since the “best” waterfalls and small rapids are downstream. But if you want to get a close look at nature’s continuing struggle between water and rock, this is a pretty good spot.
If you look near the center of the image, you’ll see a large hunk of shale sticking out of the middle of the stream. That piece of rock wasn’t there during my last visit here. At some point over the last year or so, the area underneath this piece was eroded enough to allow it to collapse into the stream. Eventually, of course, it will be worn down and swept away.
The stream bed is well polished here. When the water level is low, as it was on this day, the bottom almost looks like etched marble. You can’t really see it, but the water also makes a very sharp left turn here as it heads toward the first large waterfall. It almost looks manmade (it’s not). Like electricity, water always seeks the easiest path that gravity will allow. Soft rock erodes first, leaving the harder stuff behind.
Here in New York’s Finger Lakes region, that means gorges that look like this. On the Colorado Plateau, it means places that sometimes look like Bryce Canyon, with its amazing collection of orange, yellow, and red hoodoos. And of course some really interesting arches.
Which is one way of saying that we’ll be off again this week, heading into the big sky country of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. A big “adventure” before facing the cold, dreary winter of the northeast. We’re even going to do a little rafting on the Colorado River (just east of the Grand Canyon). I’ve always wanted a chance to look up at some of those cliffs. They’re interesting (and spooky sometimes) from above. But I’ve never seen them from below.
Another chance, perhaps, to see nature’s “crumbling infrastructure”.