Have A Splashing Good Time

By Sue Freeman

It’s summertime. That means kids are out of school and before long the summer chorus will begin. You know, the familiar “Mom, I’m bored” chant that kids sing as summer progresses. Spice up their summer activities by planning some creekwalks.

A creekwalk is literally a walk in the creek. Everyone dons a bathing suit and some old sneakers or secure Teva-type sandals and gets their feet wet walking up a creekbed – in the stream. Not all creekbeds are created equal in terms of creekwalking potential. You don’t want a creekbed filled with deep water, one with fast moving water, or one with muddy banks and bottom. The perfect creekwalking stream has shallow water (in summer) and a flat rock bottom that’s been scoured clean of small rocks and vegetation by spring run-off. This usually means it’s a streambed where the water runs downhill, tumbling over small drops that create waterfalls on its way.

The fun of creekwalking is that you choose a hot summer day and plan to get wet. Start up the creekbed, walking around deep pools and climbing small ledges and waterfalls until you reach a waterfall that’s too high to climb easily. Then turn around and walk back down to your car.

Along the way, take a swim in a deep pool, or sit in a trough of water and let the current wash over you, and, by all means, splash a lot. Take a picnic or snack in a small daypack and have a break partway through your adventure. Kids love this stuff – so do those of us of more advanced age. It’s a suitable activity for school age kids.

Sandy Baker didn’t intend to go creekwalking when she headed to Reynolds Gully for a summer walk with her niece, nephew and grandchildren. But, water rushing over small falls proved to be too much for Alistair, John, Kate, Joe and Alexandra to resist. Even in blue jeans they found creekwalking to be a great way to spend a summer day. It makes the ride home a bit more comfortable if you plan ahead for creekwalking, however.

Finding good creekwalking streams is easy thanks to the guidebook “200 Waterfalls in Central & Western New York” (www.footprintpress.com, 1-800-431-1579). Locally, Grimes Glen in Naples is a popular creekwalking stream. The water tends to be cold but you walk upstream passing a 60-foot-high falls as a tributary joins Grimes Creek, then reach another 60-foot-high tower of water in Grimes Creek itself. Lesser known in Naples, and more challenging, is Tannery Creek where you climb up several 10 to 20-foot –high falls before reaching a 40-foot-high waterfall. To play in the water in chutes and small slides, and climb smaller waterfalls, head to Keshequa Creek in Sonyea State Forest. A family favorite is Sugar Creek Glen in Dansville with waterfalls so pretty we used them for the cover of the “200 Waterfalls” guidebook. Plan some creekwalks today and have a splashing good time with your kids.

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