Tuesday Evening Hike: Labrador Hollow and Tinker Falls

Tuesday, July 4, 2017  •  5:00 pm
  • Hike rating: Distance - 4 miles; Terrain - Moderate; Pace - Moderate; Overall rating - Moderate
  • Carpool meeting place: 5:00 p.m. - EMS Parking Lot at 722 S Meadow St. (click for map). Please park in front of the store but at the end of the lot furthest away from the store.
  • Event/Trailhead location: 6:00 p.m. - Labrador Hollow Unique Area parking lot (click for map).
  • Contact: Gary Mallow   garymallow2004@yahoo.com   607-339-5131

We will celebrate 4th of July with a hike to Labrador Hollow Unique Area and Tinker Falls near Tully, NY, one of the few truly scenic hilltop vistas available along trails in the Finger Lakes region. Note that this hike requires a one hour drive each way.

Adapted from GoFingerLakes.org: the most popular destination in Labrador Hollow is the quarter-mile path to Tinker Falls, a stunning example of a “hanging” falls.  Its origin dates back to when New York and much of the North American continent was part of an inland sea.  As ancient mountains slowly eroded away, layers of sediment accumulated in the sea. The particulate carried into the sea often segregated based on weight according to distance and depth.  Heavier particles, like sand, settled out in shallow sea waters while lighter silt settled in deeper waters.  The sand, under the ever-increasing pressure from the layers above, eventually transformed into sandstone, while silt transformed into siltstone or shale.

Since sea depth fluctuated over the eons, layers of sandstone and shale would often intermix.  Millennia later, as these layers from the ancient sea bed were uplifted and again exposed to the surface, the disparity between sandstone and shale’s erodibility unfolded into a dramatic topographic feature.  Streams would erode the landscape down to the more resistant layers of sandstone, termed a capstone.  But where the persistent water eventually broke through, it dug more easily through the layers of shale beneath.  This discrepancy is one of the factors that created the region’s notable gorges and waterfalls.

Over time, the crumbly shale beneath the crest of the waterfall and behind it would wash away leaving an undercut capstone, a deep crevice behind, and an impressive waterfall.  There are few waterfalls that so effectively display this unique process as Tinker Falls.  The cavern behind the falls is 100 feet wide, 30 feet deep and 30 feet high. 

On our way out to the falls we will hike along Labrador Pond and its boardwalk. From there to the falls, we travel along the Skyline Trail. This is an out-and-back hike; once we reach the falls, we will retrace our steps back to the cars.

To reduce our environmental impact and prevent hikers from getting lost, we will carpool from Eastern Mountain Sports parking lot, 722 South Meadown Street, Ithaca. Drivers will be expected to carry pasengers. Passengers may contribute towards the cost of gas, but this is not required on our hikes.

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