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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Letchworth 3 - the Gorge

  Today was the best day of this hike, and we completed the Letchworth Branch. The trail was mostly well maintained with fewer deep dips to creeks. The temperature was drop-dead perfect, and after a brief mosquito-y start, they even gave up. photo label

But, as everywhere here, the creeks are all lined with shale. This is a good example.
rocky gully

The very best though, is that the trail gives a number of views of this portion of the gorge of the Genesee River. This is sometimes called the Grand Canyon of the East, but that name is also applied to a deep gorge in Pennsylvania. No matter what you call it, it's impressive. Genesee River Gorge

This is a closeup of that bump in the rock wall. Genesee River Gorge

And here is a view looking upstream instead of down. Genesee River Gorge

Just to give you a sense of this valley, here is a longer view of the floodplain. You can barely see the river down there. Genesee River Gorge

And what is the point of this? Here we are at the Mount Morris Dam. This dam is 215 feet tall, and was finished in 1951. The purpose is flood control. Downstream from this location is the city of Rochester, which regularly suffered catastropic floods prior to this date. Unless there are serious storms, the water is just allowed to flow through the dam. There is no reservoir. However, in storms, the water is held behind the dam and then released gradually to prevent the damaging floods. Twice, the water has risen to within four feet of the spillway at the top of the dam. Now glance back at the floodplain picture. And keep in mind that this valley is 17 miles long. Think about how much water was being held behind that dam! Mount Morris Dam

And this is the thing my dad loved about this park. He liked to go and look at the dam. I think he had experienced one of the Rochester floods, and he understood what a big deal this is.

We have now finished the Letchworth Branch of the FLT.

Letchworth Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail. 9.4 miles, approximately Ridge Road to the northern terminus in Mt. Morris

See Nice Trail


Unknown said...

I highly recommend visiting here - hiking if you can! I've been to the many parts; even dangled over the gorge on a geology expedition for college! Awesome! - Elaine

Ann said...

Stunning views. That first picture kind of looks like some ancient tribal carving.

Sharkbytes said...

Elaine- you see more of the gorge from the roads on the west, but the trail is on the east.

Ann- just chain saw in a stump!