Pretty little Bastian Falls, with its myriad streams spilling down moss-covered rocks, is like a base camp for magnificent Kaaterskill just above. The waterfall courses through a narrow passage and crashes to a craggy ledge some 175 feet below before moving on to another steep cascade of powerful water. The rugged beauty and double tier make Kaaterskill one of the more popular waterfalls in New York, a state with plenty to explore.
Sure, the tree-topped Catskill Mountains around the falls aren't the Rockies, but the boulder-strewn, half-mile trail to Kaaterskill takes concentration. With gnarled roots and, on the day I ventured up, slick rocks from a morning rain, the path is difficult.
I follow as it rises steeply next to the 260-foot falls, adding an extra level of exertion. At times, the trail veers dangerously close to a steep precipice, and I would later hear of a ghostly dog who barks and then jumps over the edge to save his fallen master. But today, as I climb, the sounds and sights are the thunder of swift waters and views of it falling to the rocks below.