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Local Sports

June 20, 2014

Waterfalls are worth the trip

People have always been fascinated by waterfalls.

They flock by the millions to see the power and beauty of Niagara Falls, but few have ever seen the highest waterfalls in the Adirondacks and maybe even in the entire state.

T-Lake Falls feature remote waterfalls located deep in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness of the Adirondacks. It’s a 10-mile, in-and-out hike through rough country to see it. The water that flows out of T-Lake cascades over an estimated 350-foot drop before reaching the bottom.

I visited T-Lake Falls for the first time when I taught school back around 1970. A friend of mine and I hiked in from the Poplar Point Campsite on Piseco Lake. The trail to T-Lake was steep and in fairly good shape, but beyond the lean-to, the state had closed the trail because of the dangerous area surrounding the falls. We continued, but there was a lot of bushwacking along a herd path through thick underbrush to get to our destination.

Four people have fallen from the top of the falls and died. The water flows over a rounded, dome-shaped rock, making it impossible to see the bottom of the falls from above. As hikers worked their ways out trying to see what’s below, they have slipped and reached the rocks below in about 4.3 seconds.

There is a trail on the left side of the falls that goes to the bottom, but it, too, is really steep. At that time, there were some really old ropes tied to trees to help control your descent. As I remember, some of them had been there for many years and didn’t look like they were in very good condition. Because of a recent rain and very slippery terrain, I didn’t reach the bottom for better than 30 years. Besides that, what goes down must come back up. It would have been a very difficult climb.

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