Sunday, July 06, 2014

Eternal Flame Water-Wizardry

What you are looking at is one of the most Tolkienesque waterfalls I have ever seen. One expects a Hobbit, or an Ent, to appear around every corner.

Or a wizard.

Take a closer look at the middle.  See that glow? That is fire.  Yes, this waterfall is on fire.

Definitely wizard work.

What you are really looking at is the Eternal Flame waterfall, which lives in a canyon just south of Buffalo New York.

Today I took my family on an adventure to check out this natural wizardry for ourselves.

To get to the falls is a round about path way.  It starts with a nice walk down a well groomed dirt path for about 2/10ths of a mile.   Then you start heading downhill... rather steeply (don't worry, there are stairs for the really hairy bits).

This picture is actually from our return trip, so picture it backwards in your minds eye as you descend into the canyon.
The terrain was actually harder than I expected.  I really got worried when I found out the last 1/10th of a mile was hiking along a creek bed.  The kids ended up doing much better than I ever hoped, and they had a blast as they crawled over rocks, fallen trees, and splashed in the many, many (many) puddles.
Eventually we arrived at the water falls.  There isn't a great deal of water - its more of a constant sprinkle, but it is high, and on fire.  Can't say that about too many waterfalls, can you?
This is a closeup of the flames.  The flames are sustained by natural gas (i.e. methane, or in 4 year old parlance, earth farts).  The natural gas leaks up out of the shale, and when lit, becomes the awesome freak of nature you see before you. The flames are in a little grotto, which protects it from being extinguished from the falling water.
Once we sufficiently checked out the wizardry, and convinced ourselves that the Hobbits were not coming out today, we headed back down the creek bed.

Onward to the next adventure!