Friday, July 18, 2008

Churning Buttermilk Falls

On July 12, Sister and I swung by Buttermilk Falls on our way home from Blue Mountain. One of the perks of being in the Adirondack Mountain Club is the discount on the books for sale at the club's headquarters in Lake George. I was intrigued by Russell Dunn's book, titled Adirondack Waterfalls Guide, the club discount was a plus. It seems like 1.5 hours or more is a far drive to go to just do one hike, so we've been trying to cram a little more into our trips up north.

Near Deerland, NY (Hamilton County), Buttermilk Falls is quite easily accessible. Its simple to find, even for the two of us who would probably get lost inside a cardboard box. The trail, if you'd even call it that, to the falls is less than 0.05 miles long. Parking is plentiful.

Buttermilk falls is formed on the Raquette River, which rises from Raquette Lake and eventually spills into the Hudson River. Second to the Hudson river, Raquette River is number two on the list of longest rivers in New York. Falling over a series of terraces, the falls are about 40 feet in height.

Seneca Ray Stoddard, a 19th century writer and photographer, suggested that the name came from the churning that the river gets at the bottom of the falls. It is a rather generic name for waterfalls, as there are several other waterfalls in New York that share this name. Despite its generic name, the waterfall itself is anything but! It's truly an amazing sight. We spent probably close to an hour there, taking pictures, enjoying the view, feeling the mist from the water slamming against the rocks below us.

Raquette Lake gets its name from the French word for snowshoe, and according to legend, the name was the result of the Tories, led by Sir John Johnson in 1776, ditching their snowshoes in the spring thaw at the lake during the Revolutionary War.

Native Americans named the river Ta-na-wa-deh, which means "swift water." Two guys, possibly in their late teens, challenged the swiftness of the water by jumping from some rocks about half way up. Better them than me.

I can't wait to check out some of the other falls presented the book.

To see all the pictures from Buttermilk Falls on my Flickr page, click here.

Information from:
Adirondack Waterfalls Guide, by Russell Dunn


storybeader said...

looks like great fun! I think I'd go to kast terrace, and jump from there. Bet the water was cold - ouch!

I'm going by your flickr!

Mama Z said...

You go to the best places! I love the outdoors! Wish I lived closer and could go with you on some of your excursions. Great pictures.

Andrea said...

Those are nice photos. And a great post! My husband is from upstate NY. Maybe I can talk him into visiting Buttermilk Falls next time we visit family.

Unknown said...

A correction: The Raquette River is a tributary to the St. Lawrence River, not the Hudson River.

John A.

Unknown said...

A Correction: The Raquette River is a tributary to the St. Lawrence River, not the Hudson River.