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14 October 2014

Re-Discovering a Forgotten Cascade near Mt. Willard

Thanks to a friend (Joanne Jones), I was made aware of an article entitled "Mount Willard Ramblings" written by Henry E. Childs which was published in the December 1945 edition of Appalachia (America’s oldest mountaineering and conservation journal, published continuously since 1876).  Contained within this article is a description of a cascade located near Mt. Willard.  The author dubbed it as "New Cascade".

Following an earlier failed attempt,  I was finally able to locate "New Cascade".  It's situated in a deep gorge about 0.3 mile SSW of Mt. Willard, and it sits at an elevation of about 2,350 ft.   The cascade is fed by an unnamed tributary to Willey Brook.  In Childs' article (shown below), he proposed that this tributary be named Willard Brook.

I launched my bushwhack to "New Cascade" from a roadside pull off on the west side of Rt. 302, (just a bit south of the parking area for Silver Cascade).   It's only about 0.4 mile from the road to the cascade.   However, there is an elevation gain of nearly 850 ft. over this short distance.  Yes, it's a very steep climb!   But, on the plus side, there was generally good footing and open hardwoods when bushwhacking near the rim of the gorge on its north side. 
Google Earth image showing location of "New Cascade".   If you click/tap to enlarge this image you will see a white line on the ledge below the spot labeled as "New Cascade".  This could be yet another cascade.  I was unsuccessful in being able to spot this from above when trekking along the rim of the gorge.  So, this might be another adventure for another day!
Excerpt from article written Henry E. Childs in the December 1945 edition of Appalachia
(Click HERE to read more about the "Willard dwelling on the railroad" that is mentioned in the above excerpt.)
One of several sections of pipe found near "New Cascade", as is mentioned in the excerpt from Henry E. Childs' article shown above.
This snapshot shows the pool at the bottom of "New Cascade" that is mentioned in the article written Henry E. Childs.  The old piping led directly to this pool!
Besides "New Cascade", there are several other cascades in this gorge, some of which are shown in this collage.  The third panel shows an obstructed view of a particularly large cascade. To safely get an unobstructed view would require some careful maneuvering.  (The angle of the fallen tree at the lower right of the photo will give some idea as the steepness of the walls of the gorge.)
At the base of one of the cascades is this view looking southward down the Crawford Notch.  This vista was just as rewarding to me as the discovery of "New Cascade"!
At the beginning of this blog posting, I mentioned a prior attempt at finding "New Cascade" which ended in failure.   On that endeavor, I hiked along Willey Brook for a short distance and then branched off to the unnamed tributary where I was able to travel for some distance along a narrow and gnarly shelf at the base of a cliff.  However, the shelf eventually faded away.  Then there was nothing left but a very steep climb up the brook bed which consisted of a jumble of broken and slippery rock.

I abandoned the attempt since it was felt to be unsafe.  Also, it seemed like an impractical routing to run piping up to "New Cascade".   However, I must quickly add that some random segments of old pipe were found near the confluence of the unnamed tributary and Willey Brook.  As to why it was there, it's anyone's guess.  Maybe water was piped from more than one source?  Or, maybe the pipe washed downstream from "New Cascade"?
Looking down the narrow and gnarly shelf at the base of a cliff
Looking down the  jumble of broken and slippery rock that was encountered after the narrow and gnarly shelf faded away
To sum it up, this was a fun adventure and a rare opportunity to re-discover a forgotten landscape feature that was dubbed as "New Cascade" by Henry Childs back in 1945.


One Day in America said...

It's kind of cool to re-discover something that was written about way back in 1945, and to discover remnants of the pipe transporting water to a home along the railroad. Hard to believe that the piping has remained undisturbed for almost 70 years—this truly is a remote gorge!
And a beautiful one too, as evidenced by your photos of the cascade and inviting pool, and the view looking toward Crawford Notch.
Interesting post, John!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

This was indeed a fun and interesting adventure. Further regarding the old piping, there is likely more to be discovered about it. Many segments of the metal pipe have plastic tubing taped to it. Since the Willard Section house was still standing up until 1972, it's entirely conceivable that at some point in time, the water delivery system was upgraded with plastic tubing when this modern day material became available.

As always, thank you for taking time to read my blog, and to post your comments!


Steve Smith said...

Great exploration, John! That looks like some seriously gnarly terrain up there, what one might call "survival bushwhacking"! That's a spectacular view down the Notch that you captured. Nice to re-discover something that was written about nearly 70 years ago.


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks for your comments and kind words, Steve!

For certain, there is seriously steep and gnarly terrain along the unnamed brook and in the gorge itself. The bushwhacking was much easier on my second attempt when traveling through open hardwoods near the rim of the gorge on its north side. But there was no escaping the steepness of the terrain! I was within about 5 minutes of giving up, but then suddenly came upon “New Cascade” and the piping leading to/from it. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes persistence pays off. :-)


Nick Pacelli said...

This is awesome, the view alone would be worth it. The cascade looks to fairly large. What a nice find, after researching. Must have been very rewarding

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Nick for your comments!

You hit the nail on the head! It was indeed a very rewarding experience.

And to address you other comments, yes the cascade is quite large. So much so that I was unable to find a spot where I could photographically capture it in its entirety. And lastly, yes even if the cascade wasn’t there, the view from the rocky precipice alone would be very worthwhile.