Hike/Bushwhack to Vernooy Falls

Sat., Dec. 4, 2021:   Vernooy Falls (Catskills) Hike/Bushwhack
Leader: Russ Faller

We took the trail from Upper Cherrytown Rd. to the foot bridge at the falls. The falls were as beautiful as ever – very plump. We then went down to the remains of the Vernooy family’s mill, where we remarked on the effort it must have taken to stack those large bluestones so far above our heads without hydraulic machinery. Construction teams wouldn’t ever consider doing it that way anymore!
Leaving the falls, we bushwhacked up the right side of the creek, checking out the various swimming holes, “steps” of the falls and campsites until we couldn’t take pushing through the laurel thickets anymore. So, we returned to the foot bridge and lounged on the rocks for lunch. After filling our bellies, we bushwhacked up the left side of the creek with the goal of finding the balsam swamp. Ron Gonzalez, our resident forester, wanted to check this out. Walking on the most beautiful Kelly-green moss, that was as thick as the most luxuriant carpet, we got to a place where the steep bank almost pushed us into the stream. Everyone, except Ron, wanted to return to the foot bridge. Ron decided to scale the slope in search of the swamp. Back at the bridge, we met Ron, who informed us that the swamp was not at the top of that slope, as he had expected. Facing defeat, everyone decided to return to our cars and call it a day. But Ron was persistent and decided to split from the group and search for the swamp on his own. Well, we should have followed Ron, because he did find that balsam swamp and even sent us pictures.
These beautiful pictures (attached) have convinced our group to reconvene when the water in the swamp is frozen. Ron will be our leader, on this follow-up hike, to the balsam swamp.

On this joint ADK/AMC outing, participants were: PurnellL, PeteC, EddiZ, GeorgeK, JimC, RonG, BethP and the leader, Russ Faller.