Ausable Chasm, New YorkScenic Wonders, STAFF, USA MAINLAND, Water — By Milli Thornton on October 14, 2011 at 01:14
Story by Milli Thornton. Photos Copyright © Brian Williams.
AUSABLE CHASM, known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is one of the many scenic beauties of the Adirondack Forest Preserve in upstate New York. Situated about twenty minutes south of Plattsburgh, next to Lake Champlain, this natural wonder has been enjoyed by over ten million visitors since 1870.
Brian’s been on the road for his job for the past several weeks and has often remarked how glad he was to be given this region at this time of the year, with the leaves turning to their autumn colors. He’s usually just passing through on his way to the next job site and doesn’t have time to stop and take it all in. But he did have a spare hour last week as he was driving through the quaint village of Keeseville, New York (birthplace of famous Civil War photographer William Henry Jackson) so he jumped on the chance to see Ausable Chasm.
He took these photos so I could get a quick taste of how gorgeous it is. The feature photo (upper right) shows Rainbow Falls, which is part of the Ausable River (originally spelled Au Sable).
Brian was there on a sunny day and it must have been hard for him to get back in the car and continue his drive to the next job site. He said, “I really, really wished I could have done the hike. And the museum looked interesting too.”
The North Star Underground Railroad Museum reveals “the hidden history of the Champlain Line of the Underground Railroad” and includes a multimedia production of the story of John Thomas, who escaped from slavery in Maryland to settle with his family on a mountain farm in the Adirondacks.
Ausable Chasm offers a number of trails where you can see unique rock formations, such as Elephant’s Head and Column Rock. On the Inner Sanctum trail you can descend “deep into the chasm for riverside views from natural stone walkways, bridges and stairs.”
The classic tour also gives you views from cliff-side overlooks and explores ancient, dried-up river beds. The tour continues by raft, where you get to sail through both the narrowest and the deepest parts of the chasm. A trolley at the other end will take you back to the Welcome Center if you don’t want to take a trail back.
On a one-hour tour, you can take the old Upper Chasm trail into the Devil’s Oven Cave, see the ruins of the Horseshoe Nail Factory and walk beneath the mist of Rainbow Falls.
Brian didn’t get to do any of that, but he did get this cute picture of a chipmunk next to the trail. The little guy was so tame Brian could get right up close before he turned tail and fled.
There’s lots to do besides just walk the trails and take a hundred photos. You can do a float tour or go tubing, try gemstone mining or play disc golf, rent a mountain bike or camp in the Chasm Campground (sites from $20). Cabins are available for $70 per night, or you can stay in the Chasm Motel for roughly the same price.
In the summertime you can do the Lantern Tour where you get to see Ausable Chasm at night while carrying a lantern. After the tour, participants sit around a campfire and roast marshmallows.
Wintertime offers the Waterfall Walk, Chasm Ice Tours and cross-country skiing.
During his travels Brian has seen some of the destruction caused by Hurricane Irene, which did not reach us here in Ohio. At Ausable Chasm he saw a side road that had been torn away by the storm just below the first level of the falls.
The Chasm’s official web site currently sports a bright yellow button labeled “We survived Irene! Click here.” Clicking takes you to a special page of conditions updates, where it proudly says “Ausable Chasm has been open for over 140 years. We survived Irene and we are open today!”
PO Box 390, 2144 Route 9
Ausable Chasm, NY 12911
Chasm Phone: 518-834-7454
Brian R. Williams, spouse of Milliver, is often the photographer (including video) for the stories Milli writes. An electronics and RF engineer, Brian writes emergency communications software for his company, Comtekk. Milliver counts it among her victories in life to have published reluctant writer Mr. Williams as a guest blogger, with a fascinating story from his stint in Russia: A Sakhalin Road Trip.
Milli Thornton (aka Milliver) is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and the Fear of Writing Blog and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse Coaching Service.