Hiking Buttermilk Falls!!

Hiking Buttermilk Falls!!

– Ithaca, NY

Buttermilk Falls is named so because the water cascades over shallow rock beds, making it look buttermilky white. We took a trip down to Ithaca to see them, and get a hike in before the summer ends.

Have I mentioned how much I love road trips?

Which way? : )

One and a half years in Syracuse… and this was my first trip to Ithaca!

Some roadside scenery… for starters, a little yellow tractor!

… a tank…

I talked to my cousin for a little bit, after driving through Cornell. My first impression was that it reminded me a lot of Berkeley’s campus. Nostalgia instantly hit, and briefly I wished that I had applied to Cornell. (At the time of application, their Masters of Architecture program was non-accredited.)

I just miss the hills, the trees, having rivers, and the density of the city. Smashing forest with city.

But that is why we travel! To enjoy places like this.

When we arrived, the lighting was gorgeous.

I snapped a few pictures out of excitement. Then adjusted my light settings. Yay.

(can you spot the shoe?)

A few weeks ago, I sat at a fountain in downtown Syracuse to play with shutter speeds with water, out of curiosity. Little did I know it was practice for this day!!

Such textures!

The trail follows the river/falls for a while, then loops you around Lake Treman, up more falls (we took some independent detours), then back down.

Bottom half of the lake (it’s two lakes):

Some wide, flat paths, but my favorite were steep and narrow ones:

(legitimate lens flare *winkwink*)


Then the path opened up to a shallow riverbed, in which Andrew declared, “Hunger Games!!”

me: *gasp!* “It’s a rock beaver dam!!”

Okay, tell me this doesn’t look like a little panda face :

Back into the woods!

This means, “Please come inspect for something cool!”

Woohoo CLIFF!

(kind of hard to tell… I was hoping the scalar shift of leaves would be more telling of the cliffness of the cliff)

Towards the end of our detour. We meet lushness again.

Sun drops a little more, and we meet gorgeousness:

Race up the “steps”! Though halfway up, they jut up awkwardly, extra high – easy to trip on… but neither of us did!

I feel like I’m in the Lord of the Rings.

Where you meet mystical creatures…

Caterpillar was thicker than my thumb!

(it’s a cecropia caterpillar!)

Check out this cutie:

Toadally adorable.

And then, what the heck is this?!

Two ladies spotted a bunch of these on this tree. One of them was talking about the bug’s ovipositor, which you can see, is brown and sticking into the tree.

(I googled. It’s a giant Ichneumon wasp)

But then she noticed us and took it out of the tree…

Such pretty color.

We continue the adventure! Starting with, Andrew almost falls off cliff – or – Andrew climbs up cliff!

Edge of the upper lake:

Wait… back in LOTR?

What are these guys doing?

It’s not long before we head back to the falls.

I picked one of the few dry patches of rock to sit my bum on:

I was shooting mostly 1/125 – 1/1250 throughout the day. Here is 1/8.



“Mountain man pose”

I’m not very mountain-man-ish.


Getting closer to the fall…

I love how silky it looks.

Back to 1/250

Let’s you do this:


I really like this one, and how the rocks are shaped.

More playing:

I didn’t want to get my shoes wet because they were my running shoes, and I needed them to be dry for my half-marathon training. So, I was standing in the middle of the water on a rock, trying to plan my next move to cross the river… when he noticed my plight and came along to build me a stepping path : )

Picnic across the falls…

Somehow… we picked up a pet rock. His name is Sylvester St[all]one Rocky the IV.

Anyways, we three enjoyed this view.

2 sec exposure.

(I went up to 4 sec. but it didn’t make much difference for the water)