Cascade on Crane Mountain | Adirondacks | New York

My afternoon adventure on my first full day in the Adirondacks turned into an evening adventure because I took a nap in my hammock at camp for longer than I had expected. By the time I convinced myself to get out of camp It was getting to be early evening hours.

I enjoy photographing waterfalls. I have a guidebook to waterfalls in the Adirondack region. In the past I have focused on waterfalls that are easily accessible. On this trip I wanted to branch out and try to photograph a few waterfalls that required a little more hiking. I was willing to go at least a mile to get to a waterfall.

I arrived at the trail head that my guide book indicated for Cascade on Crane. Time to unpack my camera gear and assemble it. Full size tripod. DSLR with battery grip. 18-200mm zoom lens.

Hiking to a waterfall

I was excited to hike out and photograph this cascade that flowed down into a pond from the side of a mountain. I was willing to carry all of this camera gear with me because the hike itself wasn’t too long. It turned out to be a little over 2.5 miles round trip. And the guide book indicated that there would be “some elevation” involved in the hike. So, I knew I would have to do a little climbing but it didn’t sound like it was going to be too much.

What I didn’t realize is that according to the person who wrote the guide book “some elevation” apparently could mean almost 1,000 feet of elevation over at most about 1 mile of hiking distance. This is the equivalent of some of the steeper sections of climbing high peaks mountains in the Adirondacks.

With this level of elevation gain and the steepness of the terrain there was some definitely some slow going times. Carrying all the camera gear I chose to take with me did not make it any easier. Although there were actually times the tripod came in handy as a make shit trekking pole.

Eventually I came to the area where the cascade was supposed to be according to the guide book and maps. Guess what? No cascade. Almost no water at all. It was dried up from the hot summer weather. That was disappointing after all the effort to get the camera gear necessary for shooting waterfalls up onto the mountain.

Cascade: pond

Alternatives to photographing the falls

Fortunately, the cascade was supposed to be running into a pond. And the view a the mountainside pond was beautiful. I stopped along the trail as it passed by the pond several times to take photographs. It was made even more beautiful my the late evening sunlight. The sun was getting low creating that beautiful golden hour light that we often chase as photographers.

Hmm. Sun is getting low. Guess I better get off this mountain then. The difficulty of the hiking on this mountain, due to the vague description of “some elevation” in the guidebook left me a little unprepared. I really try to never be unprepared. But I expected to be able to make faster progress on the hiking portion of the adventure.

The hike up was challenging and slow. And there were times when the hike back down from the mountain were just as tricking and slow. It started to get dark out. I did not have a headlamp with me or a flashlight.

Getting back to the trail head

I was off the mountain but still had some distance to go on relatively flat trails before I would be back at the trail head. This is where the beauty of technology comes in. Not only did I have a fully GPS enabled map on my phone, but I also had a flashlight built right in. And I used that resource to light the way all the way back to my car.

If I had realized how steep that climb was going to be I either would not have carried that much gear with me or I would not have chosen to photograph this location, at least not so late in the day. Tip to writers of guide books. Please include at least a vague guestimate of how much elevation is involved in a hike. Saying there is “some elevation” is not sufficient.

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