Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Monday, May 25, 2015


Waterfalling, meaning one is going out and exploring waterfalls according to the urban dictionary, is exactly what I did today. I am currently taking a photography workshop and our project for this week is to take pictures of waterfalls. My plan was to hike into Zealand Falls and then go down into Crawford Notch and hike to Arethusa Falls via the Bemis Falls Trail so I could capture a few smaller waterfalls.

 American flag this Memorial Day morning on the way to the trailhead



 Painted Trillium



There was overcast skies and warm temps in the forecast for today. When I left the house the early morning sun was trying to burn through the overcast but the cloud cover would win. This forecast actually bode well for taking photos. Bright sunshine would make it more difficult to capture the waterfall scenes I was looking for. I found plenty of parking at the Zealand trailhead parking area. It was a cool start but would slowly warm up as I made my way to Zealand Falls. 

 Easy-over blowdown

 ...and another blowdown

 Keith "Lefty" Enman and his nephew Ross

Hobblebush and painted trilliums were in bloom and they were found all along the trail. As I was taking photos of these wildflowers I saw a familiar face come up the trail. It was Keith "Lefty" Enman and his nephew Ross. I'm familiar with Keith from his many hikes and fantastic photos that he posts on Facebook hiking pages. We hiked and talked until reaching the trail junction where I turned to go up to Zealand Falls and they continued on to the Ethan Pond Trail. It's nice to meet fellow hikers that I follow on Facebook.

 Zealand Falls

 Very dry conditions

When I reached the falls it was quite noticeable that we are in desperate need of some rain. While there was water coming down it was somewhat less than spectacular. I set up my tripod and started playing with my camera. Between the lighting and f/stop limitation on the Canon SX50 I found it difficult to get the flowing, blurry waterfall effect that I was looking for. Of course being a novice photographer and forgetting to bring my notes from the workshop that I'm taking was also a limiting factor when it came to getting the correct camera configuration in manual mode.

 Zealand Hut

 View from Zealand Hut

Taking a break at Zealand Hut

 Zealand Pond

I moved on up the falls and continued taking photos. After many camera adjustments and photos I took a short break at Zealand Hut. It was getting much warmer so I zipped off my pant legs and went to short sleeves. I then started my hike back to the parking lot.

 Lots of Painted Trillium today

 Beaver pond

 Beaver dam

Back at the parking lot I was surprised to see plenty of parking still available on this holiday Monday. Another pleasant surprise was no black flies or misquitoes. I jumped in my truck and headed to my next set of waterfalls. The drive would take me down beautiful Crawford Notch. I stopped briefly to grab take some photos of Silver Cascade. Next stop was the trailhead for Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliff.


 Small waterfall beside the trail

 Carter Notch

 Silver Cascade

Once again there was some available spots for parking and I wasted no time hitting the trail. Soon after starting out on the Arethuse Falls Trail I turned onto the Bemis Brook Trail. This trail follows close to Bemis Brook and the first stop was Fawn Pool that appears to be one long slide. The next stop was Coliseum Falls. I didn't know it at the time but I should have gone downstream just a bit to capture the entire area of this falls. But I got a close-up and had to shoot under some massive logs that have fallen across the brook. My last stop on this trail was Bemis Brook Falls. It was tricky getting down to the bottom of the falls and care had to be taken due to slippery and loose rocks.

Frankenstein Cliff

 Fawn Pool

 Coliseum Falls

  Bemis Brook Falls

I got plenty of photos and continued on up the trail, and I mean seriously straight up. This was a root grabbing climb up the Bemis Brook Trail where it meets the Arethusa Falls Trail. After that it was an easy hike into Arethusa Falls. There were quite a few people gathered here, as expected. I found a nice flat boulder where I could set up my camera and started shooting in different modes. It was a challenge to keep the people out of the photo and still capture most of the falls. I finally got the photos I wanted and started my hike back.

 Easy-under blowdown

 Arethusa Falls

Just before arriving at the parking lot I felt my first few raindrops. One thing that was quite noticeable was the fact that water levels are very low and we need to get some substantial rain. I managed to get everything into the truck before a steadier shower soaked everything, we'll need a lot more!

Tree burl

This was some fun, leisurely hiking today. I took many photos which only some are being posted and I'll take some to my photography workshop to be analyzed to see what I could have done to improve the quality of the shots. Although my goal today was to photograph waterfalls I still got in over eight miles of hiking along with a little rock climbing and ledge scrambling. The overcast kept the temps at a tolerable level and there were no problems with biting insects. So it was a great day to be out and about in the White Mountains!

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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