Thursday, June 2, 2016

Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs May 22,2016

I really need to get this post done before I move onto my next adventure!!!

Because my kids were with their Dad and I really wanted to use the maximum amount of my time for me I decided to leave the AMC hike and just drive to NH. I was already in Milton and could jump on Rt 93/95 and head north with an almost 1 hour leap from the Cape. Typically when I hike in NH I leave by say 7am and drive about 3 hours and drive home all in 1 day. This makes for a long and exhausting day but it's always worth it.
I had investigated a bunk house as it was the cheapest option to just sleep and be closer to where I wanted to be , unfortunately when I checked the website on the way up they would only allow me to book 2 days out. No phone number, no nothing.
I soon found a Hostel that was slightly more but allowed me to book online and pay when I arrived. of course when I arrived I found  a locked door and a note with a number to call. This is where it got weird. A woman answers, I explain I booked online so she gives me the door code and all the instructions for where to leave by boots and gear, which bedroom to sleep in and says I will process your credit card and we hang up.
I locate my room and the glorious fact that they have showers. ( the other place did not!) I run into my roommate and she explains she has had a long day and is headed to bed. I am in the same boat and try to be quiet. This room has 7 beds and luckily it is just the 2 of us. She is gracious enough to get me some clean sheets as the bed I picked is bare. After I clean up I am able to hit the hay by 8:20. I am exhausted from my 7 mile hike and travels.
I wake up in the morning a little after 5 and quietly pack up.
I slipped my cash and a note in the lock box, striped my bed and was sitting in town eating breakfast by 6:20.
The only, and I really mean only, negative thing about that hostel was it's location to where I had planned to hike. I had a little over an hours drive to the trail head BUT I soon learned that this wasn't even as issue when I took the drive. I mean really, the Kangamangus Highway at 7am was heavenly. I stopped a couple of times but needed to remind myself I would never get to the trail if I kept this up.

This is the kiosk as the start to the trail. Also someone graciously left 4-5 cool walking sticks by a tree at the start of the trail. 
After some investigation I decided to take the side trip on the Bemis  Brook Trail, although the trail back UP to the Arethusa-Ripley Trail was a bitch it was worth it. I passed 2 actual identified Falls but the entire trail was just water bubbling everywhere. At one point I even left trail and walked up the flat rock joining the trail at the next opening.

It just seemed to be Waterfall after waterfall this whole first mile. This is the Coliseum Falls.

The trail back up was a lot of rock scrambling but I liked the work of it. 

Both of the bridges to Arethusa had holes or broken sections.

I was very sad to see the damage of such a heavily traveled trail. So far I had only seen 1 hiker pass me on their way out but clearly this is like Disney World at other times. And who puts graffiti on trees? Really people? I explain to the girls every time we go out to leave Mother Nature the hell alone and leave the place like you were never there. It's good for the earth and the next person should be able to enjoy it like we were never there.
About 1 mile in I am coming down a deep set of stairs and around a bend to this. 
I have heard it described as 150 to 200 ft falls, all I know is that it was huge. I wish there was a way to show the scale. I didn't climb down into the bottom but sat on the side, rested and ate just listening and smiling. 
This is why I drive, sweat, and swear. My heart is happy right here.

I don't want to leave but I know this is only mile 1 of maybe 5-7 more I have to travel so I pack up and move on. I don't have many pictures of the next couple miles but it was quieter as the water fell behind and the flowers were the focus of this part.
When I came to the Ripley Falls turn I had to make a decision. Do I hike about 2.5 extra miles out and back to see them? I decide not too. I am still not up to the Cliff height so I know I have more work to do and have a couple more miles just to get out of this loop. If I had more time maybe.
So on I go. Passing 1 lone hiker.
To give you an idea of the ground that can be covered on foot the picture below has a small white nick in the green woods just to the left of the pine tree, that is the Arethusa falls.
Pretty Cool, huh?

Another funny little point about hiking-when you see a sign like this, you just do it. Like sure, add another mile on just so I don't miss something as cool as a place called Falcon Cliff. Did I hold onto a tree just to take this next picture? Yes!! But it doesn't seem so stupid when you are doing it. You are just in another world and constantly amazed and delighted by the smallest things. I will stand and listen to a woodpecker at work or have a staring contest with a chipmunk while I try to silently get a photo. 
Sometimes the amazing part is how small I am in this enormous place. 
Just a random cool little part of the trail. 
The view from the cliffs was beautiful and amazing. At one point there was even a lookout to the rear where you could see Mt Washington. 

The train bridge was another of my favorite views of the day as the sky was clearing up. I climbed up the side just to see it and take some photos and I am so glad that I did. I had to climb back down as the trail actually goes under this enormous bridge as you can see.

As I made my way down I passed these walls of rock with water ever so gently rolling down. There are not a lot of pictures after this as the trail was loose gravel and attention needed to be on staying upright.

Finally a group of about 5 passed me just after this spot so I think in approximately 6 miles and 4 hours I saw a total of about 12 people. It seemed more would come from one end or the other but the center between the Falls and the Cliffs was quiet and solitary which I enjoyed. 
As the descent became more gradual and I stepped out onto a dirt road back to the parking lot I was feeling great, accomplished and sort of like a hiker. I don't know exactly when that change occurred but it sort of did after this weekend. I am definitely still a beginner but I am for sure done with the question of whether I would consider myself a hiker.

And we are back again. When I started this journey the white van and I were the only ones here. You can see here that as Sunday's weather cleared up more people came out to enjoy it. The parking lot was full on both sides with about 2 dozen cars. I for one am happy to be headed home now. Well after a big lunch of course. 

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Race Results

09/07/07 Main Street Mile 11:44
05/18/08 YPD 5k 52:57 17:05
06/14/08 Walpole Village 5K 35:27 11:26
06/21/08 Mashpee Fun Run 34:21 11:05
07/19/08 Mashpee Woodlands 36.49 11:52
08/10/08 Falmouth Road Race 1:29:31
08/25/08 Women Running Wild 35:40 11:30
10/25/08 Mashpee Firefighters 37:47 12:10
05/02/09 Cape Abilities 5K 34:59 11:17
05/17/09 YPD 5K 36:41 11:50
08/09/09 Falmouth Road Race 7mi 1:37
10/31/09 Mashpee Firefighters 5K 37:15 12:00
09/11/11 Main Street Mile 12:31
10/29/11 Screech to the Beach 5K 39.13 12:20
08/12/12 Falmouth Road Race 1:34:24 13:29
05/18/14 YPD 5k 44.25 14:17
06/1/14 June Jog 4mi 1:04 16:00
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:42:04 14:35
09/27/14 Girly Girl 5K 37:24 12:02
10/26/14 Pell Bridge Run 4mi 48:41 12:10
11/27/14 Turkey Trot in VA 5K 35:22 11:23
12/06/14 Jingle Jog 5K 34:42 11:11
03/29/15 Thomas Guinta Memorial 5K 34:14 11:03
04/19/15 St. Margaret's 5K 31:11 10:21
05/17/15 YPD Blues 5K 34:58 11:17
06/07/15 Newport 10 Miler 1:56:09 11:36
06/20/15 Mackenzie's 5K 33:55 10:54
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:33:51 13:24
10/31/15 Screech at the Beach 36:19 11:40
5/20/18 YPD Run to Remember 37.37 12:08