Have you ever wondered where in the world you will be when you die? The thought has crossed my mind from time to time, only for a moment, then the moments gone. Never once did I imagine passing away in Poestenkill, NY but that almost happened Sunday at Barberville Falls.

In my mind I am still 25 and can handle anything. Reality is I am 54 and can handle almost anything. What I hadn't considered was, once in the woods, there would be ice on the path and where the ice had melted there would be mud to slide on. I should have known better as we passed a couple about my age and the guy says, "It's treacherous". Instead I thought, "yeah for you maybe." and I continued on.

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If you haven't been to Barberville Falls be aware that the decent to the water is steep, very steep at the start. Having Mondo, an 85 pound Chesapeake Bay Retriever, pull you along is an added challenge. I made the decision to step off the trail and away from the ice. Sounds good but next thing I knew I was in that scene from Rambo when Stallone was falling through the trees.

Mondo and I ended up on a landing where I pretended that I had done that on purpose. There were probably 50 or so people at the falls on Sunday enjoying the 60 degrees and sunshine. I can't imagine any one of them making it up and down the short trail with ease. If you decide to take a hike, do so with serious caution.

This is not a stream, river or kill. This is an icy path leading to the falls.
This is not a stream, river or kill. This is an icy path leading to the falls.

According to CBS6 News, there have been four deaths in the last six years:

  • In 2017, a 25 year old man fell from the cliffs and died
  • In 2016, a 16 year old slipped and became trapped underwater where his body was later found.
  • And in 2014, a 27 year old man tumbled into the water and was killed.

We need to respect nature when allowed to venture down a trail with beautiful surroundings and a destination such as the falls. Some people want to go for a swim in the hole. Others will want to capture the moment for Instagram. No photograph or selfi is worth your life.

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