Butt Busting Trail Ice

Our newest Finger Lakes Park Minute (#38) warns us about the dangers of venturing out on icy trails this time of year.

Walking on trails in parks in the Finger Lakes region in early spring can be a tricky matter. With thawing and re-freezing, our footprints in lingering snow can become dangerous, slick ice. Many gorge trails are closed because of very thick, persistent, and extremely slippery ice formations covering the paths and steps. At Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca, NY.

Winter Water

Ice builds up at the base of the waterfall at Taughannock Falls State Park, near Ithaca, NY in the Finger Lakes region.

Taughannock Falls and its ice dome

In spite of the weird late October noreaster blizzard that swamped New England in the cold and dark for a week or more, this has been a warm year, according to the National Climate Data Center, with the seventh warmest land temperatures worldwide. Fortunately. here in the Finger Lakes, we were spared the blizzard (and Hurricane Irene, but not T.S. Lee). But winter is now officially starting. Most public gorge paths are closed now as long, thick icicles grow like stalactites on dripping cliffs and ice forms glassy flows over trail surfaces.

In the video below, that I made two winters ago, I take you into the gorges and to Cayuga Lake as winter progresses. See Buttermilk Falls covered with ice, ducks huddling among ice floes on Cayuga Lake, the huge ice dome at the base of Taughannock Falls, and the roar of a flood during a thaw in the gorge at Watkins Glen.