Hidden in a sleepy little park in the northwestern corner of New York state is a rather unusual waterfall. Eternal Flame Falls gets its name from natural gas emissions in a tiny grotto in the waterfall’s face which produce enough gas to sustain flames behind the falling water.
We pulled into Chestnut Ridge Park, just south of Buffalo, yesterday and started on a pleasant hike through dappled forest. The way to the falls was signposted with rather mysterious-looking symbols painted on pine trees along the trail.
The river has cut a deep gorge into the surrounding landscape, but there was little evidence of flowing water as I trekked along the river bed. There was just a tiny stream of water trickling along in the heat of summer. The water captured the reflections of the trees towering above us and cast an eerie green glow along the trail. I couldn’t resist taking a few shots – you know how much I like reflections.
And then I saw flames, flickering away in the distance. On a good day, I had read, you might find two or three flames, sometimes a few inches in height – apparently this was a good day. There were four flames in total, a large defiant orange flame surrounded by three smaller flames, glowing and dancing beautifully in the darkness of their little cave behind the waterfall.
It was an absolutely wonderful treat at the end of a gorgeous trail, and if you’re ever in this part of the world, you should check it out. Huge thanks to my friend Susanne who told me about this little secret.