Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Other Niagara Falls?

While I have lately been truly sucking at posting things, I haven't stopped thinking about things to post. Or having great and fabulous (read: pretty boring) adventures. So while I know I need to finish BSC in the USA and I really have to post about Yosemite, I figured better to just get a little something up on here, even if no one reads it.

In a recent conversation, I casually remarked that I wished I lived near a decent waterfall or two, since, you know, I absolutely love wateralls. I was indignantly informed (technically reminded) that one of the biggest or widest or most powerful waterfalls in New York is actually pretty close by. Maybe I knew that, but past viewings of the falls were unimpressive enough that seeing it (them?) didn't make much of an impact.

Suspense effectively built? I'm talking about Cohoes Falls, on the Mohawk River just before it dumps into the Hudson (remember the Hudson? I talked about that one). Just for fun, I decided to take a look at the Wikipedia page for Cohoes Falls (remember kids, never, ever cite Wikipedia. I'm going straight to hell for this) where I read that in the 18th century, Cohoes Falls were considered, in beauty, second only to Niagara. Bear in mind, Niagara Falls, beautiful or not, are extremely famous and visited simply for being waterfalls. Further "anaylsis" revealed that Cohoes is better than the American Falls but "not as good" as the Canadian Falls. Bloody Canadians, getting the good waterfall and the good town.

After reading important comparisons between Cohoes and Niagara, I realized it was time to go back to Cohoes Falls. Even though it's close to home and I've driven by countless times, I have much more vivid memories of Niagara Falls. I don't know, maybe it's the rainbow. Or the commercialness. Or the fact that the Canadian/Horseshoe Falls is actually kinda pretty. Cohoes, on the other hand, is really just a waterfall in a city, small viewing area, usually empty of people.

While the city isn't exactly on my way home from school/work, it isn't really out of the way either. So, one warm and sunny day, I felt the open road calling me away from my usual highway exit and into the city of Cohoes. As a city, Cohoes apparently used to be quite something; I'll call it the (former) Venice of New York (I'm guessing no one else ever did) because it used to be full of canals. At one time, Cohoes was a thriving industrial city, I think there were a lot of mills there, all powered by water. Cohoes also essentially has the end of the Erie Canal, you know the one with the mule named Sal, right?

So, anyway, my visit. The time was early spring, the water was high and the air warm and breezy. All very good things, especially the water since, at times, the falls runs almost dry. There's a theory that the name for the falls (and city) comes from the "potholes" that appear when the water is low. As you can imagine, this really isn't always the most stunning waterfall.

I parked on the street, right next to the little Cohoes Falls Park. A short walk led to the year-round viewing area; a closer walkway doesn't open until sometime this month, I think. Since it's close by, I may go back and check that out. My impression? Didn't change all that much from the last time I saw the falls. Sure, there was more water, I know it's higher than it looks (somewhere between 70 and 100 feet) and it looked kind of powerful. But honestly? It's not the most beautiful waterfall, not by a long shot. I have an upcoming post about a waterfall in the Adirondacks (I said I've been adventuring) that was much more exciting. Don't believe me? Check out the picture:


  1. Sweet! If I come visit you some time will you take *me* to an out of the way waterfall?

  2. I'm letting all my followers know that I'm moving to a new blog!! Please follow me at my new home!

  3. I love the Cohoes Falls, nice blog.

  4. Hi Carl, thanks and I actually love the Cohoes Falls too, even if it doesn't sound that way!

    Sadako: I told you, change "if" to "when" and you've got a deal.