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04 April 2016

Two Bushwhacks off Tucker Brook Ski Trail: Plimpton Falls and a Ledge

In late March 2016, I did a trek (about 4 miles round-trip) using a portion of Tucker Brook Ski Trail located near Franconia, NH.  My goal was to re-visit an off-trail ledge located about midway between Mittersill Mountain and Bridalveil Falls.  And then, if time permitted, I also wanted to do another off-trail exploration of a portion of Tucker Brook itself.

There is parking available at the point where Tucker Brook Road ends and Tucker Brook Ski Trail begins (GPS:  44°11'11.35"N,  71°43'58.63"W). Oftentimes, there is a trail map posted here, but if it has gone missing, then be aware that there are two ski trails that depart from this location. The Tucker Brook Ski Trail is the one that does NOT cross Tucker Brook on a footbridge.

Also, please be aware that for about the first half-mile after leaving the parking area, there is private property on either side of the trail.  But beyond that point, all the land adjacent to Tucker Brook Ski Trail is public WMNF land.

Perhaps the map shown below will provide a general idea as to the location of this hike, as well as the two off-trail places that were visited.  Please note that Tucker Brook Ski Trail is highlighted in blue.



It had been 8 years since last visiting a little ledge located about midway between Mittersill Mountain and Bridalveil Falls (GPS:  44° 9'41.78"N, 71°43'7.40"W).  I was totally amazed at how much the surrounding trees had grown over those 8 years.

Shown below is a photo composite.  The TOP PANEL shows the view from this ledge as seen on my March 2016 visit.  The BOTTOM PANEL shows this same view on March 2008 when I visited this ledge with Steve Smith who is the person seen in this photo.


The next photo was taken during my March 2016 visit, and it shows what remains of the vista from this little ledge.  Who knows what (if any) view will exist in a few years from now,considering the rate at which the surrounding trees are growing.


On the return leg of my trek, I dropped down off the Tucker Brook Ski Trail to Tucker Brook itself.  It wasn't long before a waterfall was located (GPS: 44°10'22.04"N, 71°43'22.88"W).  I thought it might be Plimpton Falls.  But being uncertain, an image was sent to Chris Whiton who kindly confirmed it was indeed Plimpton Falls.
(As of the time this blog was written, information about Chris Whiton was available by clicking HERE.)

A piece of interesting information about Plimpton Falls was provided to me by Dean Goss who manages a website entitled "Waterfalls of the Northeastern United States" (click HERE).  Dean indicated that this waterfall has been laser-measured at 78 feet tall.  However, this rather impressive height isn't apparent in photos.  Perhaps this could be due to the waterfall having such a long run-out from top to bottom.

Shown below is one of several photos taken of Plimpton Falls during my March 2016 trek.  The waterfall was mostly frozen, and presented a striking ribbon of white winding its way through the surrounding forest.


After visiting Plimpton Falls, I continued along Tucker Brook for a short distance, and then climbed back up to Tucker Brook Ski Trail, and then onward to the trailhead.

Shown below is a photo taken during my meandering along Tucker Brook.


In early Springtime, and late Autumn, the Tucker Brook Ski Trail is such a delight to hike.  On other adventures, during those seasons of the year, I've followed this trail all the way to Mittersill Mountain.  In Summertime, the trail is filled with weeds, and during Wintertime, it is used for backcountry skiing and a trail pass is required.

Presented below is a photo taken on my March 2016 trek.  It shows a typical segment of the Tucker Brook Ski Trail.


Perhaps it should also be mentioned in this blog posting that just a short distance upstream from Plimpton Falls is another off-trail waterfall named Bridesmaid Falls (a.k.a. Noble Falls).  Since I was running short of time, and was unsure of my exact location, Bridesmaid Falls was not visited on this particular trek.  But using a different approach route, I have visited this waterfall on other occasions.

Shown below is a snapshot taken of Bridesmaid Falls during a visit in late October 2014.



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