Emerson Gulf

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Emerson Gulf

Postby champy1013 » Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:25 pm

North of Fellows Falls, in the county of Onondaga, town of Tully...
N 42.82789 W 76.16220

off of Woodmancy road, there's a pull off over a bridge, and a pain in the ass scramble down the ravine to see the waterfalls - numerous cascades - and I didn't get all the way to the bottom. Beautiful views into the Tully Valley too...

Here's the top - low waterflow, we haven't had rain, but it looks like it flows all year long...
Image
And then the nicer drop lower down - probably about 15-19' slide:
Image
Image

Now, I would assume this isn't the 'Cascades of Tully' - which I can't find, and I really have no idea where it is....so, this must be a new one that needs to be documented. There are slight traces of walking trails, but it's not an easy hike by any means, I had to climb the waterfalls in a few points.

I should have enough shots and can go back when water level gets up for a short page on it...
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Postby Matt » Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:36 am

This lack fo rain is killing me.
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Postby Matt » Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:28 pm

I couldn't find any info on Emerson Gulf.
I'll list it and put the property status as unknown.

It's definitely not The Cascades, which is here
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Postby Matt » Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:31 pm

Though I see the topo has "Salt Wells" at the bottom of the gully. Interesting.
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Re: Emerson Gulf

Postby bish » Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:31 pm

Matt,
I just posted to the Fellows Falls listing and will add some info here regarding Emerson Gulf. As a native to the immediate area, I hiked these falls as a youngster quite a bit along with Fellows Falls. Both are off Woodmancy Rd., named for my ancestors who settled this area around 1810. We're into eight generations now of living within about 2 miles from these falls.

Emerson gulf is accessed from a parking area on the lower side of the road with a short hike down the bank to the first waterfall. Further down is the big long cascade which I believe is well over 100' long with a series of drops and turns ending at a small 4' deep pool at the bottom. It is a mix of Tully Limestone and shale with mature trees lining a very steep ravine. This creek empties into Onondaga creek further down in Tully Valley. There are interesting rock shelves and cuts along the stream below the big cascade. Due to land subsidence, the creek actually disappears underground for a distance before reappearing gradually as the streambed reaches the valley. The best time to hike this gorge is when water flow is low because the ravine itself is extremely steep. The falls itself is usually the easiest way down and up. I emphasize this is a somewhat dangerous climb and people have been seriously hurt attempting it when the rock is wet and slippery.

Another concern is the open fault lines that have opened up in the wooded areas especially to the north and east areas of the stream. This is due to the subsidence of the land from the years of salt mining below through the brine wells in the valley. These cracks in the earth are deep and some run hundreds of feet in length, parallel to the Tully Valley. Leaves and debris can cover them and you need to be very careful and vigilant.

I am told there was a mill located just below the road at the first main waterfall, and I believe you can still see signs of it today. Not sure what type, grist mill, lumber,? A few years ago, Honeywell had this ravine logged and the lower areas do have some logging trails now, but I haven't had a chance to explore these to see if better access is provided by them.

The area from this ravine all the way to Fellows Falls on this side of the road is all Honeywell property along with quite a bit more lining the valley. I think a few thousand acres total. A recent presentation held at the Tully School by Bill Kappel, a geologist who has been in charge of studies of the Tully Valley area, including the Tully mudboils, and the land subsidence, was very interesting. If you google the Tully Valley Mud slide you can read more about these.
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Re: Emerson Gulf

Postby Matt » Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:41 pm

Again, thank you for the wonderful information. I have yet to hike there myself, but I'm hoping to check it out next spring. Thanks for posting this!
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Re: Emerson Gulf

Postby Mark J » Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:03 pm

Bish,

What can you tell us about the other gully in the Woodmancy Rd., Tully area, Rattlesnake Gulf? I creekwalked this once in August, 2003 and am aware of the April 2005 landslide that temporarily rerouted the creek. Any insight you can offer about access -- both physical access and legal access -- would be appreciated.

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Re: Emerson Gulf

Postby bish » Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:34 am

Mark,
I'm not sure about the current status. I asked around last night while at a friends house, who happens to be a local assessor.
He thinks the property may have changed hands to a relative of the earlier owner. I'll try and find out more. Liability may be a factor as someone was killed there a few years ago in a drowning incident.
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Re: Emerson Gulf and Rattlesnake Gulf

Postby Mark J » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:49 am

Bish,

Thanks for the reply. Yes, a 28 year old man drowned at the Blue Hole on August 9, 2003. The news report said he was visiting a home on Blue Hole Rd. and decided to go swimming. This means he would likely have approached the falls from above, as Blue Hole Rd. is just upstream (west) of the falls. Approaching from above is not typically the safest route to a waterfall. An inch and a half of rain had fallen that week, not an extraordinary amount, but it is apparent that Rattlesnake Gulf acts like a giant funnel, concentrating a substantial area's rainfall into a narrow and deep ravine. The volume of the shale that this stream has carried away over the millenia is ample evidence.

Talk of liability for any body of water is often overstated. A person can drown in a bath tub or a 5 gallon bucket. Swimming in a waterfall is inherently risky due to unseen currents. The Blue Hole is a deep pothole, and entering such a natural structure during heavy runoff would obviously involve added risk. Yet the scenery and natural environment of such a place can still be enjoyed without taking unreasonable risks.

By sheer coincidence, I was at the Blue Hole one week after the drowning. Nothing was posted that I saw, though I entered the creek from a public access, not private property. I was back in the area in September 2006. I did not have time for a hike, but did observe that much of the property abutting the creek, especially on Blue Hole Rd., was posted. I hope that there is still a safe and legal access for responsible hikers and photographers to reach this very special place.

Here is a photo of this waterfall taken in June 2007 and posted to the web by the photographer: [url]
http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/21 ... 8158ehHIME[/url]

Obviously the drop is large enough that this is no place to fool around during high runoff or rapid water conditions.

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Re: Emerson Gulf

Postby bish » Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:48 am

Had to work Saturday morning, but decided to check out the water flow and get some pictures of the falls in Emerson Gulf later in the afternoon. We had about 8 inches of snowfall earlier this week, so Fridays warm temps got the water running. These are shot at the upper, middle and lower falls areas. The lighting wasn't the best, and I'm not the photographer most of you are, but I'm learning.
By the way, the Syracuse Post Standard had a front page story today involving the fault lines in the ground in this area, with a great picture.
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Re: Emerson Gulf

Postby bish » Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:51 am

Correction! That's what that preview button is for! The first picture is actually the lower falls and the last is the upper falls. Sorry about that. :roll:
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Re: Emerson Gulf

Postby bish » Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:56 pm

My son and I hiked out of the ravine at Emerson Gulf and got these shots of some of the open fault lines in the ground on the north side of the ravine. If anyone ventures down there I suggest not going alone, and carry a walking stick. Sometimes leaves and debris cover these, so you must use extreme caution as many are wide enough to fall into and some are quite deep.
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