Friday, August 24, 2012

Falling Up the North Shore

Earlier this spring when I was digging out photographs of waterfalls for my book project, I got the hankering to go back and revisit those falls. The last time I had seen any of them had been over 15 years earlier and my wife hadn't ever seen them in person. So after leisurely getting around, we headed north along the shore.

Even back in the day when I had spent time there, the traffic had been bad. It is a narrow twisting road that follows the shore and it never fails that you get behind someone going extremely show and causing dozens if not more cars to trail slowly along behind. For me, it is hard to concentrate on on relaxing when you have to keep attention on the car in front of you so closely. This trip however, we beat much of the traffic out even at our leisurely pace and when we did find a huge string of traffic, I would set the cruise a few miles per hour and let them pull away much to the frustrated people behind me.

We visited Gooseberry Falls which is perhaps the most well known waterfalls along the North Shore and were fortunate to beat the rush. We only had to share the park with a couple dozen people but by the time we were hiking out, there were literally several hundred people all heading towards the falls.

One of the big things that I noticed is that the park service has really developed the area since my last visit. Almost every falls had large buildings housing restrooms and information on the area like which refrigerator magnet best represented the beauty. The trails, once narrow compacted dirt trails over slippery tree roots had been replaced by compacted gravel and even paved in the case of Gooseberry. Though the trails were improved, once you got north of Gooseberry, the traffic died down considerably and because the trails to the falls got longer, the number of people to contend with also drastically reduced.

By error on my part and confusing maps that did little to show where one was, we ended up missing the bottoms of the most of the waterfalls we visited and instead saw them from their tops. This provided me with a different perspective and also helped to reduce the number of people around us to almost zero. For some reason, most people don't want to hike further uphill than they absolutely have too and that was alright by me. We spent several house upstream of one particular falls and saw nary a person as we read, threw rocks and sailed stick boats through the rapids.

Because we spent most of the morning and early afternoon relaxing, we decided to relax and spend the rest of the afternoon swimming and the three of us, four if you count the one in the oven, did just that. We finally drug our wrinkled hides out of the water to drive down the road to a BBQ place we had seen and enjoyed another great meal.

No trip to the North Shore is complete without a stop at Betty's Pies. We got two slices to eat with our lunch later on. I got Lake Berry Crunch and my wife 5-Layer Chocolate. Both were divine.

Upper Gooseberry Falls

Middle Gooseberry Falls

Lower Gooseberry Falls

I loved the way this tree was clinging to the rocks.

While admiring the above tree, I saw this wasp nest hanging in the branches. I wonder if the wasps sense how precarious their situation is?

This photo was of the Caribou River on our hike back to the falls. I think it is where I took a black and white version of the photo 15 years earlier and which used to hang on the walls of our old house. Right now it it boxed away but I wanted to take this picture to verify my belief.

Tettegouche Falls in shadows unfortunately so I couldn't get the best picture. My previous pictures from 15 years ago were all taken down at the base of the falls to the left.


Ron said...

Beautiful... that brings back a lot of memories.

You reminded me... the thing that drove me crazy was RV after RV, aimlessly driving from one thing to the next, maybe venturing to the gift shop, and then hurrying back to their vehicle. It's hard to believe that they really got much of anything out of the trip, besides refrigerator magnets.

Mel and I (and my baby girl on my back) found peace and seclusion on those hard-packed dirt trails. I couldn't believe how easy it was to lose 99.9% of the crowd, at least at that time.

Vince said...

Very lovely. I really like MGF #3.

I'm never quite certain if I should treat them as landscape or portrait.

edifice rex said...

Beautiful place! but you know that was a hornet's nest, not wasps. A much, much nastier creature.

sage said...

Beautiful! And you want to see how precarious that hornet's nest is, just poke it :) Of course, you'll learn how precarious you are! Sounds like you had a nice trip.

Ed said...

Ron - I hope that people like us are always able to lose the 99.9%.

Vince - I usually go landscape so that everything is in focus.

Edifice Rex - Thanks for the I.D. I am lacking on my insect identification skills.

Sage - Although I lack insect knowledge, I do know enough to not poke a nest of any kind of fling 'bee-like' insect!

Bone said...

Yes, a hornet's nest. My grandma used to have one of those hanging in her kitchen. An empty one. Like for some sort of decor. And I just now recalled that memory when I saw your picture.