Eternal Flame Falls
By: Pat Coate
I had heard good things about the Eternal Flame Falls hike at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, NY. So while in the area with a little extra time I decided to check it out. Here is a description of the eternal flame phenomenon from http://nyfalls.com/waterfalls/eternal-flame-falls/:
“As you approach the falls, the smell of rotten-egg-like natural gas fills the air within the ravine. This is the result of seepage from layers of organically-rich Hanover Shale. … The gasses produced during the decomposition of the organics within the rock deposits are under pressure and push out through cracks and loose layers within the rock. One large fissure is located right within Eternal Flame Falls, in a small grotto that protects the gas seepage from the falling water and any wind, enabling it to sustain a flame when lit.”
The falls are over 30 feet tall. At this time of year the flow of water is minimal unless there have been several days of rain – I look forward to visiting the trail again next spring.
There were some unusual and, I thought, pretty spectacular views looking up the gorge from the creek.
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