Water Works, Mt. Pemigewasset and Georgiana Falls, 5.17.14

Saturday morning was pouring rain.  Not ideal for hiking unless you’re testing out rain gear and pack covers.  Which is precisely what my husband wanted to do since he has new gear to use this summer.  With another obligation later in the afternoon, we decided to hike some shorter trails we’d never been on. Our first hike of the day was a trek over Mt. Pemigewasset via the Indian Head and Mt. Pemigewasset Trails.  We first dropped a bicycle at the Flume Visitor’s Center and then went south on Rt. 3 to the trailhead for the Indian Head Trail.

Dismal weather at the Flume Visitor Center, where we dropped off a bicycle.

Dismal weather at the Flume Visitor Center, where we dropped off a bicycle.

The parking area for the Indian Head Trail was easy enough to find (just south of the Indian Head Resort on Rt. 3) and soon we were on our way in the rain.  The trail travels underneath I-93 and soon we left the sounds of the freeway behind and traveled through the woods on what probably is a pretty nice trail.   It was hard to tell exactly what the trail was like, as all the rain that had fallen overnight and currently was creating a stream instead of a trail for a good portion of the ascent.  It reminded me of quite a few days on the Long Trail in Vermont.

Start of the Indian Head Trail up to Mt. Pemigewasset.

Start of the Indian Head Trail up to Mt. Pemigewasset.

I'm somewhere along the Indian Head Trail, in full rain gear.    The trail is blazed in yellow, but could use some fresh paint on the fading blazes.   You can also see the water in the trail behind me.

I’m somewhere along the Indian Head Trail, in full rain gear. The trail is blazed in yellow, but could use some fresh paint on the fading blazes. We found a reasonably dry spot for a break with no standing or running water as seen in the trail below me.

The trail has mostly easy grades the whole way, except for the last one to two tenths of a mile, where the trail is steeper as it makes its way to the junction with the Mt. Pemigewasset Trail and the top of the ledges at the summit of Mt. Pemigewasset.  Not that we could really see anything once we got there due to the gigantic cloud we were in, but we went anyway.

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At the summit ledges on Mt. Pemigewasset. Under these weather conditions, I think this qualifies for 52 Without a View.

Done with the ledges and ready to be out of the wind, we headed back into the woods and down the Mt. Pemigewasset Trail to finish the loop.  This side sees a lot more foot traffic and did not have the steep section at the top.  The descent was easy and relaxing, except for when we saw a bear, which quickly turned and ran away into the woods.  The clouds were beginning to lift and we could start to see more of the terrain around us – a very good sign.  Soon we could hear the sounds of the freeway and then crossed underneath it via a couple of tunnels and ended up on the recreation path through Franconia Notch.  Just a few minutes of walking and we were right back at the Flume Visitor Center’s parking area.  I unlocked the bike, and rode down to pick up our vehicle at the Indian Head Trail trailhead.  Back in the car, with the bike loaded up, I went back to pick up Ethan and the packs.

Going through one of the tunnels under the I-93 to get back to the Flume Visitor's Center.

Going through one of the tunnels under the I-93 to get back to the Flume Visitor’s Center.

At the recreation path through Fraconia Notch, where the Mt. Pemigewasset Trail heads west toward the summit.  From here it is only a few minute's walk back the Flume Visitor Center parking.

At the recreation path through Fraconia Notch, where the Mt. Pemigewasset Trail heads west toward the summit. From here it is right hand turn onto the recreation path and only a few minute’s walk back the Flume Visitor Center parking.

After a quick errand in Lincoln, we headed back up Rt. 3 to Hanson Farm Rd.  to hike to Georgiana Falls under blue skies and sunshine.   After parking the car, we headed westward, traveling once again under I-93.

Parking area for Georgiana Falls Path.  The path goes through the gap in the fence and under the I-93 through the tunnel.

Parking area for Georgiana Falls Path. The path goes through the gap in the fence and under the I-93 through the tunnel.

At the fork and the signs, the path to the falls takes a right.

At the fork and the signs, the path to the falls takes a right.

Even before we could see Harvard Brook, we could hear it.  Once it came into view, it was quite a surprise to see the volume of water that was flowing.  We were also grateful that there were no water crossings, which would have been impossible with the volume of water that coming down the brook.  There might have been some spring snowmelt in there along with all the rain, but Harvard Brook was literally roaring.  It was so loud, we had to shout at each other to be heard.  Although this trail is supposedly unmaintained, it was blazed in yellow at first and then red, and was pretty easy to follow.  We made it to Georgiana Falls first, although it was harder to distinguish the falls because of all the rushing water.  For a better idea of what Harvard Brook was actually like, here is a short video.

Some of the first views of Harvard Brook, flowing very fast and high today.

Some of the first views of Harvard Brook, flowing very fast and high today.

Georgiana Falls, we think.  It was really hard to distinguish features of the brook because of the high water flow.  We did look at previous photos of the these falls on the internet, to get an idea of what we were looking for, but the water volume makes a huge difference!

Either near or at Georgiana Falls, we think. It was really hard to distinguish features of the brook because of the high water flow. We did look at photos of the these falls on the internet before the hike, to get an idea of what we were looking for, but the water volume makes a huge difference!

We continued up the trail, which became steeper, to Harvard Falls.  The trail is a little hard to follow immediately after Georgiana Falls, but soon we found a red blazed trail which led us right to Harvard Falls.   The falls were quite amazing with the volume of water that flowing!  To get a better feel for what Harvard Falls was like this day, check out this very short video that we took.  We enjoyed the scene for a little while, marveled at our luck of picking this day to visit the falls and then headed back to the car.

Harvard Falls, seen from the trail, a little below the falls.

Harvard Falls, seen from the trail, a little below the falls.

Both falls at Harvard Falls.  From what I understand, if the water volume isn't high enough, the waterfall on the left may not be running.

There are two falls at Harvard Falls, if the water volume is high enough. The main falls is on the right.

At Harvard Falls.  The pictures do not do what we saw on this hike justice.

At Harvard Falls. It was hard to capture in photos what it was really like this day at the falls.

More of the falls, just to the left of the previous photo.

More of the falls, just to the left of the previous photo.

A better view of what is going on through those trees to the left in the previous photo.

A better view of what is going on through those trees to the left in the previous photo.

What a memorable day! My husband and I don’t often get to hike together for various reasons, but when we can, it makes these sorts of days even that much more special.

One of my favorite photos of the day.

One of my favorite photos of the day.

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2 thoughts on “Water Works, Mt. Pemigewasset and Georgiana Falls, 5.17.14

  1. Hi Summerset,

    First of all, I love your quip about Mt. Pemigewasset qualifying for “NH52 Without a View”, i.e. given the weather conditions on the day of your hike.

    Your bear sighting incident corresponds with my experiences. They have always ran away, and usually very quickly! I suppose it might be a different story if it were a situation where they felt trapped or threatened.

    And lastly, you guys certainly did have great luck at picking a terrific day to experience the power and beauty of Georgianna/Harvard Falls.

    John

    • Thanks for stopping by, John! I’ve had a couple of foggy days on 52 With A View peaks, I think the point is to go on sunny days?!? LOL. Yes, we’re fortunate that the bears here in the East are, for the most part, scared of people.

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