First, before anyone freaks out, that is the name of this preserve – no typo. Second, a Kill is a creek. It confused me the first time I saw it too. According to Wiki (not the best resource, I know) the word Kill is from the Middle Dutch word Kille, meaning riverbed or water channel. This area was first settled by the Dutch if I understand my history correctly, and remnants of that history still linger.
Background aside, it’s a lovely hike, although quite strenuous if you do something stupid like climb the walls of the gorge. Like I did.
I love rocks. If I didn’t have too many hobbies already I would probably be a rockhound. They intrigue me. If I’m hiking, the bigger the rocks, the better. I also love water – lakes, creeks, rivers, the sea – all of it. Add rocks to water and I’m one very happy hiker. It sounds very stupid and cliché, but I can spend hours in a creek flipping rocks, looking for critters, and enjoying the sound of the water.
Plotter Kill has 3 large waterfalls that are currently dripping down the sheer rock face instead of flowing. That’s ok, because if there was more water I couldn’t have gotten to the places I reached by hopping rocks. It’s obvious that when the Kill is in full swing there’s a lot of water involved. Tree snags are polished smooth and huge boulders are moved down the Kill easily.
It’s amazing how much you can tell about the region just by following the creek bed. The waterfalls occur in this preserve because of the way the slate – I think it’s slate – snaps in sharp straight lines. A lot of the rocks look like they were cut for building purposes – straight blocks right out of a castle wall.
I kept thinking that the few pink granite rocks I found in the creek bed were interlopers – added at some point by the park service to a pathway or retaining wall and washed into the creek. Then I came across a boulder as tall as my waist – it probably weighed as much as a small car!
This photograph is disturbingly organic. It’s the same form of rock that much of the falls are composed of, but it looks like cooled lava. If I saw this rock in a city somewhere I would assume it was a sculpture. The clean surface indicates that it was only recently exposed – otherwise it would be covered in moss like every other boulder.
I finished my hike by climbing the walls of the gorge. As long as I didn’t look down or think about what would happen if my foot slipped or a root handhold broke, it was fine. The last half of the climb was more like climbing a wall than a hill. Note to self: remember the bug spray next time!