Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27 – Arethusa Falls

Yesterday was a completely inside day. The only time I went outside was to take these pictures. I got up, looked outside, saw that it was snowing so I went back to bed. When we eventually did get up the snow had turned to rain which continued all day with a high of 5C.



Today was a bright sunny day with a high in the mid teens. I was originally going to do the drive to the top of Mount Washington but the current forecast said it was still very foggy at the top.

Instead we did one of the recommended “moderate” hikes. You first climb to Arethusa Falls, looking at some smaller ones on the way up, then climb a bit higher, cross a ridge and then climb down looking at the Frankenstein Cliffs.

On the way there we stopped for a peek at the roadside Silver Cascade.



The description of the Arethusa Falls Trail seemed interesting but after 3 inactive days it was way WAY too much. The loop was 10 km and gained 1500 feet in elevation but there were so many very steep ups and downs it seemed like much more.

The view at the trailhead. Little did we know that we would end up at the top of that cliff.


As you can see from the parking lot it was quite busy, since this was the first and only nice day of the Memorial Day weekend.

I will mention these railway tracks later.


The trail started nicely enough.


First stop was Fawn Pool.



Then Coliseum Falls with a lot of layered rock.



Next was Bemis Brook Falls.



These three had been on a little side trail that eventually rejoined the main trail. Unfortunately the side trail had been flat while the main trail had been steadily climbing. To get back to the main trail we had to basically go straight up hill.



The main trail was in much better shape since it was much more used and maintained. It still climbed a lot but there were steps.


At 160 foot Arethusa Falls everyone paused at least for a snack or lunch.



We had our lunch perched on the side of the valley.


Now all the sane people just backtracked down the trail to their cars and continued on. Not us! We continued on up around the loop.

There were some pretty streams.


But the trail was not as well maintained because it was much less used and much steeper.


One point was marked as a Mount Washington outlook. This is all I could see and even that was perched up on a rock,


We eventually did get to a nice viewpoint and basically collapsed there for a while to rest. We actually found someone else crazy enough to do this section. They were much younger than us and pretty tired too so we didn’t feel so bad.


We could even see the car and it looked tantalizingly close but it was about 1000 feet below us and many kilometers of trail away.


I read that the cliff was about 600 feet straight down.


The final part of the trail went very steeply down. This was particularly hard on Jennie, being shorter, it was tough doing some of the bigger drops.

Pictures just didn’t do justice to the steepness. The yellow paint is the trail marker.



Then we can to the Frankenstein Cliffs. You can’t tell from the pictures but they were several hundred feet high and quite impressive.



Finally we got to these railway tracks. They had been creosoting the ties so you had to cross though the little tunnel. I could hear it dripping on the roof.


Since we had crossed the tracks near the start we thought “Great, we must be almost done.” Nope! We were still displaced at least a kilometer to the side from the parking lot. It was really rough trail as well and felt like the longest section of trail.

Finally back at the car. The pointer shows where the lookout was. Notice everybody else has gone home. We started the trail about 11 and it is now 5:30. A very long day.


Here is our trip.


And the elevation profile. Notice how steep the last section is.


On the way back we stopped at this viewpoint of Mount Washington and the Mount Washington Resort.


In a close-up of the mountain you can see the weather research station at the top and the cog railway line on the left.


The railway engine has a big gear that engages notches on the track to go up the mountain. Friction would not have been enough because it is so steep.


The driving road is on the other side. I think we will try that tomorrow.

Since there was no way Jennie was making dinner, we stopped at a pizza place. As soon as we got home Jennie crashed into bed. I am headed there as soon as this is done.

A tough day. In hindsight I should have done more reading so that we only did the out and back to the falls. Although the view from the lookout was pretty good, it didn’t make up for all the work.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! You both are amazing! What a hike! I remember seeing, or attempting to see Mt. Washington back in the 70's but it was too foggy (for days). No wonder you flopped at the end of the day...but you still posted this blog with the pictures!! Beautiful!!!