Friday, November 27, 2015

Falling Waters Preserve

Alternate Title:  Google Maps Still Hates Me

Today is Black Friday.  There is not enough money in the world to make me go near a mall or shopping center today.  I don't care how fantastic the deals are supposed to be.  I went once a few years ago with my mother, and some woman practically knocked me down in her effort to yank a salt and pepper set out of my hands.  A salt and pepper shaker set!  I have no desire to deal with that level of overzealous shopping insanity ever again.

Also, it was absolutely beautiful out today!  Temperatures in the mid 60s at the end of November?  There is no reason to stay inside and let such a day go to waste.

So I decided to go on an adventure.  The destination: Falling Waters Preserve.  I had never been there before, and the name just sounded really cool.  (Yup.  That was the entirety of my decision-making process.)

You might be wondering what Google Maps has to do with all of this since there are clearly directions on the website. You're correct, there are directions.  But I'm not coming from Saugerties, so I needed different directions.  Google Maps has been behaving itself of late, so I decided to rely on them.  The drive should only take about 35 minutes. 

I had a rough idea of where I had to go.  The beginning went swimmingly, as Google Maps was in agreement with the general direction I knew I needed to be heading.   Until it wasn't....well, not really.

Friends, you would be forgiven for wondering what the hell is wrong with me for blindly following Google Maps when it has tried to lure me to my death, gotten me very lost taken me to some unexpected destinations in the past.  I assumed it was just taking me the "less traffic route", and I went with it.  It did recognize Falling Waters Preserve as a place when I entered it in, so I figured I would get there eventually.

Bad, bad mistake.

The silver lining to this little trip was that it wasn't on dodgy dirt roads, and was conveniently located around the main road near my brother's old house.  If I got completely lost I already knew how to get home.  Bonus!

So I followed Google Maps.  It was a pretty drive.  I remember noticing a sign that said "Arthritis Hurts" on the way up, but I didn't get to read the rest of it.  Probably true, although it was odd to announce on a sign. This will become relevant later, I promise.

The street must have changed names about 12 times while I was driving.  Somehow in the middle of all this I missed whatever turn Google Maps had wanted me to take.  I eventually wound up on Main Street in Saugerties -- north of where I was supposed to be.  Also, for no reason I could ascertain, Google Maps had gone silent.  My phone was not on silent.  It was hooked up to my car, so Google Maps should have been announcing all of the turns to me through the freaking blue-tooth connection, but it wasn't.  Google was giving me the silent treatment.  I was trying to make all of these turns  while driving and checking the screen.  Not fun..and probably not terribly safe, either.

Finally, Google gets us turned around and going back basically the same way we just came. (When I say "us" and "we", I mean Google and myself.  No one else was with me.)  This time I actually found the street it wanted me to turn on.  The sign was bent and hard to read, which is probably why I missed it the first go-round.

I'm driving down the street, and I notice I am coming to a dead-end at a closed gate.  A closed gate with a big sign that says Private Property.

Damn it, Google Maps!  What have you done to me this time?

Apparently it took me to the wrong end of the property.  Not the first time this has happened.  Also, it would appear, not the only time GPS has failed to get people to the correct location.  There is actually a sign by the gate saying that you need to go south to York (Street?  Road?  Didn't specify.) to get to the entrance of Falling Waters Preserve.  Fantastic.

So I pull back out onto the road I was just on, and I start heading South, looking for a street called York.  I was mad at my co-pilot, so Google was being ignored since I didn't have time to reprogram it and it wanted to send me back to the wrong place again.

I knew I had once again gone too far, this time going South, when I passed the "Arthritis" sign. Okay.  Time to find somewhere to pull over before I ended up back down in my brother's old neighborhood. I found a convenience store and pulled into their parking lot.  

How am I going to find this place?  It should not be this difficult.  My phone was for crap, and it wouldn't let me pull up the Scenic Hudson website to get the actual street address.  I literally typed in "York Street" in Google Maps and hoped it came up with something that looked to be in approximately the right area.

Success!  York Street found, and I once again set off following Google's directions.

"Arthritis Hurts
Jesus Can Still Heal"

And on trip number 3 past the Arthritis sign I now knew it was for a church.  Fun times.

Finally, I found the place.  It took and hour and a half to reach a destination that should have taken about 35 minutes.  Oh, Google. This is the kind of thing that makes me less than confident in our relationship.  There has to be trust for this to work, and you make it so hard to trust you at times.

It really was beautiful, and worth the effort to find it.  I took some pictures for you, Friends.

I took the Upland Trail first, since it said there was a waterfall at the northern end.  I do love waterfalls.

Main trail

Statue bordering the trail, next to private property

Waterfall at the northern end of the trail

Smaller waterfall along the trail

Trail's end.  Literally stops at a cliff.

Instead of just going back the way I came, I took the Riverside Trail.  It was supposed to have several shoreline overlooks.  They were very pretty, but I found other things of interest as well.

Trail along the shoreline

Bench at one of the scenic overlooks


Tree stump.  There were a lot of trees that had fallen down or been damaged.

I don't know why this drew my attention, but it did.  It looks like a fairy's house...and I have a really active imagination.

Last was the Father C. Jorn Trail.  It is the shortest trail, but it has an interesting story.  To quote the park guide:

Once the road to a riverfront icehouse, the trail passes the preserve's southern waterfall, then parallels the stream until it enters the Hudson.  Its name honors Father Charles Jorn (1906-2002), longtime chaplain at the Dominican Sisters' Sparkhill infirmary.  While vacationing here each October for 39 years, he spent every day except Sunday clearing trails and creating a park around the icehouse remains--using only a machete and rake.  The trail follows the route he walked to reach his "work".

Rest area near the southern waterfall

Along the Hudson

The ground was covered with these things along the water's edge

Waves in action


Short video of the southern waterfall, shot with Boomerang so it looks like it goes back and forth

I did not use Google Maps on the way back.  I actually knew where I was going by this point.  I did not need to go on another hour-long odyssey at that point.

Oh, and on the 4th trip past the Arthritis sign, I finally got to read the entire thing:

Arthritis Hurts
Jesus Can Still Heal
Right Here

Underneath were the times for Sunday services.  

What did we learn today, Friends?

1) Nature is beautiful, and it's worth the effort to get out and enjoy it.  (We already knew that, but it is always important to remember.)

2) Google Maps is still a fickle and unreliable co-pilot.  

3) If you have arthritis pain and really want it healed, you should go find this church on Route 32. Apparently they can make you feel better.

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