Ruth's Waterfalls
of the Finger Lakes, Rochester, and Ithaca, NY.

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Tips and Equipment

Gullywhumping equipment

Having become totally addicted to waterfall hiking we realized we had best do it safely and respectfully.

We never go without the essential items listed below.

On many occasions we have wished for an item from the non-essential list making a mental note to consider including it on the next hike.

Essential items for gully hiking in any weather in upstate New York:

  1. Non-slip footgear, preferably something that will also keep your feet dry in the colder seasons.  Except for the warm summer days we wear hiking boots inside knee high rubber boots. We've worn old sneakers, boating shoes, old hiking boots or felt-bottomed reefers in the summer months.
  2. Instep four point crampons to prevent slipping  on the rocks and to provide traction on the steeper areas. We purchased ours at the local outdoor equipment store.


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  1. Wool socks… they stay warm even when wet.
  2. Hiking poles, adjustable steel tipped poles are best but old ski poles or sticks will do the job.
  3. Camera and small tripod so you can slow down the shutter speed and get the cottony effect of the water movement. We like to use our wide angle lens in some of the narrow spots.
  4. Plastic bag for trash found along the stream. We each hang a plastic bag from the outside of our day pack. (We also use plastic bags over our hiking boots so that they slide in and out of the rubber boots more easily.Our mothers taught us this trick many years ago when we struggled to put on our winter snow boots.)
  5. Water bottle-one quart per person; more if hike is more than 2 hours
  6. First-aid kit. Ours includes antihistimine pills and insect bite wipes.
  7. Space blanket or survival suit, essential in winter but a good idea in any season when hypothermia is a danger for an injured hiker.
  8. Back pack or waist pack for camera, water, food, and extra clothing
  9. Map (leave this in the car unless it’s a good topographical map in a watertight envelope)
  10. Short 20 foot rope
  11. Oranges and health bars
  12. Insect repellent
  13. Good friends

Essential gear for winter hiking, may be handy in summer also:

  1. Knee high rubber boots (big enough to allow you to wear sturdy hiking shoes/boots). Fishermen's waders will also work quite well.
  2. Gloves
  3. Head warmer
  4. Two hiking poles
  5. Water repellent wind pants
  6. Space blanket or survival suit

Non-essential items but sometimes really handy:

  1. 50m climbing rope (9mm)
  2. Extra gloves to use when the first pair gets wet
  3. Binoculars
  4. Small diary and pencil; small tape recorder for dictating notes
  5. Sandwiches
  6. Tree/weed/moss/rock/tracking/bird guidebook
  7. Sunglasses or visor
  8. Clinometer, compass, range finder