The sad story behind Bash Bish Falls: the 'Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions in the U.S'

Bash Bish Falls - MA Travel Blog

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The canyon is so steep and deep that it hardly shows

On of the first hikes I made in New York (State) was actually not in New York. It was in June 2008 (see here), I started my hike in New York State but hiked across the border into the state of Massachusetts to its highest waterfall, Bash Bish Falls.

Bash Bish falls is located in a gorgeous gorge and drops an impressive 24 meters (80 ft). The falls are great but the gorge is even more impressive. It is extremely steep, so steep that the state has placed iron cables to fence off the abyss. These cable nowadays come in handy when descending to the falls. They provide the needed grip on the really steep trail downhill.

Bash Bish Falls, south view

Today I did the same hike as in 2008 which ends at the south shore of the Bash Bish Brook, just below the falls. In 2008 the water was less forceful so I had been able to cross it in a simple way by stepping on the huge boulders. These were now below water in the roaring Brook. I managed to cross it somehow but I realized I had taken a stupid risk. Especially when I read that several people had fallen in the brook and drowned here. Actually the falls and gorge were mentioned in the top-10 of the World's Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions by AOL.

Anyway, I survived the falls. But the person the falls were named after was not so lucky. Here is the sad story as passed on by the Mohicans, the tribe that used to live in this area: 
Bash Bish was said to be a beautiful Mohican woman who was accused of adultery, a crime punishable by death.

GPS profile of the hike (rendered by GPSVisualizer.com)
The verdict was to be executed by placing her in a canoe and pushing it over the brink of the falls. At the moment the tribe intended to execute the verdict mist rose up from the gorge and butterflies appeared circling around Bash Bish's head. In the moment of confusion caused by this event Bash Bish was able to break loose and throw herself into the deep gorge. Her body was never found.
White Swan, Bash Bish's daughter grew up and married the chief's son. She appeared to be infertile and was really depressed about that. She spent a lot of time at the gorge where here mother died. Here she dreamt that Bash Bish suggested to join her and leave the sorrow of life behind. On a bad day White Swan indeed leaped into the gorge plunging to her death. Her husband had just come to offer her a gift saw it all happen. Without thinking he dived after her, and thus also to his death.
Like her mother's, the body of White Swan was never recovered. Her husband's heavily damaged body was found soon. The Mohicans believe that White Swan was united with her mother. Ever since hikers have reported that the water stream of Bash Bish Falls sometimes takes the shape of a falling woman.

More pictures below!

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The canyon is so steep and deep th…
The canyon is so steep and deep t…
Bash Bish Falls, south view
Bash Bish Falls, south view
GPS profile of the hike (rendered …
GPS profile of the hike (rendered…
GPS height profile of the hike
GPS height profile of the hike
The start of the hike, still sunny…
The start of the hike, still sunn…
A fellow hiker left this in 1846
A fellow hiker left this in 1846
At the highest viewpoint of Bash B…
At the highest viewpoint of Bash …
This must have been the place wher…
This must have been the place whe…
Bash Bish falls, midway on my desc…
Bash Bish falls, midway on my des…
I had to step over this
I had to step over this
Bash Bish Falls, north view
Bash Bish Falls, north view
Bash Bish Falls - MA
photo by: mdalamers