Friday, February 25, 2011

Little Niagra Falls 2/24/11

"Me, Myself and an Otter" (pictures)

Google Map
A Face Book friend of mine seeing I was an avid hiker and visited Blue Job Mountain often told me about a little gem tucked around the corner that few know about. After missing out on getting outside on the beautiful Wednesday we had, I wasn't passing up Thursday's lovely weather ahead of Friday's snow storm. So I hit the bed early and got up a little earlier than usual. I stopped at Honey Dews for my coffee and made my way up the back roads over frost heaves and pot holes, an unwelcoming "welcome" to Spring thaw! Take 1st Crown Point Road in Farmington towards the Blue Job Mt. parking. As I passed I noticed two State Police Communication Maintenance trucks in the lot. I was almost intrigued to stop and hike up to see what/if any action I could catch up there at the Fire Tower. But I longed for a lonely, quite trail so I continued on. Shortly after the BJ parking lot Little Niagra Rd. is on your left. Take it to it's end at a yellow house. There is plenty of parking and a "no cars beyond this point" sign.

I took my 4th sip of my coffee and threw my bag on and locked the truck. Then the thought of that full coffee sitting in there getting cold.......I couldn't just leave it behind! So back into the truck to retrieve my java. I strapped it into my pouch and proceeded to the snow bank to put my snow shoes on. As I bent over to put them on my coffee spilled out onto my leg...grrrrr! That was a dumb moment! Now coffee in hand I headed down the trail/logging road at 12:45pm. I took some pictures of the marsh as I passed.

You pass a gated logging road on the right, then another road to the left with a gated bridge signed "foot traffic only". I continued past these, following the many post holes from a person/s trekking through the snow bare boot. Up a slight hill and then on my right was a graveyard! Surprised to see this out here I checked it out. The names were of the Foss family from the early to mid 1800's. The main stones were of Jeremiah and Eliza Foss and son Horace. One pretty stone caught my eye. The name was odd, Hopatio N. Foss who was born 2/18/1821...just missed his/her birthday! This poor child died at one years old 12/4/1822. There is an old stone foundation just before you enter Little Niagra road and I wonder if that is where their house stood, or if it was the yellow home? Who knows!

The road now drops and I passed another marsh area and the Big Lot River and began to wonder where this fall was and if it was large enough to even notice in the snow cover. At any rate, after a lousy weekend of wind I was happy to be out in the woods in another new area. Soon however I came to a point where the road crosses the river. A stone bridge foundation is here without the bridge. Then down stream just a little was the Little Niagra Falls I was searching for! It was just after 1:00pm. I took some pics at the head of the fall, all ice/snowed over still but partially visible. I made my way carefully down the banking to try and get a view from the foot of the fall. Not able to get close enough safely I trekked back up the ledgy banking.

I then decided to cross the river. I walked across the bridge foundation and decided to climb down to the river here as it was shallow enough and there were rocks I could balance on. I crossed with no problem and climbed the other side. I followed the banking on this side, keeping plenty of distance so as to be safe. I got a few side pics but there just wasn't enough showing. This looks like it could be a very impressive 50' cascading fall in the spring! I checked my phone wondering why I hadn't gotten my 1:15 lunch call from Scott...ahhh, no service! I probably should have messaged him where I was going. This is the second time I  broke the back country golden rule.....Tell someone where you will be and when you plan to return. Yes it's just a little ol' logging road but still, anything can happen! I grabbed for my water as I was parched to find that it wasn't there! I searched the area for it and figured it probably fell out when I put my snow shoes on at my start. Wouldn't that figure!

I popped a Ricola in my mouth to help lubricate my throat and continued on down the road. This side had one lonely bare boot trail on it. I followed the road through an open pine forest down another gully past a small stream and up a steep hill to where it ends at Barn Door Gap Road. The time was 1:37pm. I headed back to the falls where I snapped some more pictures and made my arduous crossing to the other side. Once again I crossed without getting wet! I had picked up a small branch from the trail earlier that had a nice piece of lichen on it. And now I was noticing more. I kept picking up the good ones as I went, thinking of clear coating them and making a wreath or something to hang on the wall.

I stopped back at the marsh and took some more pictures. And just as I started to step I heard a thrashing in the woods. Then, an otter poked his nose from the shrubs and looked around the surrounding area. Here I was in bright orange out in the open, I knew I would be spotted. I kept still just the same, camera in hand and ready for the slight chance of a photo opportunity! Then, he made the mad dash across the snow covered ice and down into the river bed. That little moment bumped my walk from 80% satisfied to 100%. Something so simple, yet still so intense and exciting!

The rest of the way was uneventful. I spotted a mess of fur and the tip of a fox tail to the side of the trail. That fox met his match! Now with a handful of sticks with lichens on them I still decided to walk to the other bridge to get a look-see. From here you can look right across the marsh and to Blue Job and Little Baldy to the left of the summit. The cell towers and Fire Tower all visible. I followed the shore and up the road that loops around a cellar hole and back to the main road. I finished my day at 2:15pm and there was my water lying in the snow bank! It tasted, oh so good! Roughly 2 miles round trip, 1.5 hours. Very kid friendly walk!

3 comments:

  1. This is awesome. You must have a great journey. I appreciate your effort. Thanks for sharing. niagara falls

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. I used to go to Little Niagara and Blue Job in the late 1950's -early 60's ...back before I was a teenager ... and we moved away. My husband and I now summer in the area ... one day we will find little Niagara (following your directions) and show it to our grandchildren. I don't think we'll let them slide down the mossy rocks of the falls like my mother let us!

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  3. Hiked/walked Little Niagara Road today. First, this is NOT a logging road, it is/was a Town Road with dual stonewalls on both sides. I assume the moniker of Little Niagara was applied in the mid 19th century...The road up Mack Mountain leads to the ruins of the Wingate farm...All of this is on the 1892 Map of Strafford...

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