This past Monday was a sunny one. The previous weekend gave us a lot of rain and wind. Since the new week offered us sunshine (and wind), Laura and I decided to get in the car to take a trip up to Rangeley. The last time I was there was during my motorcycle ride with Steve and I hadn’t had a chance to show my better half yet. It seemed like she was missing something rather cool, so I felt bad about not getting up there earlier.
One thing that threw me for a loop was the recent daylight savings time clock change. If I can remember back to Monday, I think we left the house around 1:30. With the amount of time it took to drive up to New Vineyard and across to Strong, we were already running out of light. Since I wanted to stop by Smalls Falls for a quick photo op, I figured I should step on the gas a bit. Unfortunately, even with my speedy driving, we weren’t able to get any pictures worth anything. I took these two as a simple token gesture, but really, with the lack of lighting on the falls, they are merely to document the event.
And needless to say, we didn’t hike up the rocks to see any further falls. It was quite brisk and since I wanted to get up to my lookout point in Rangeley, I figured we should hit the road again and see the lake while we still could.
Now, fortunately for us, the sun was in the perfect position right as we arrived at our pull-off point. There is a really nice spot to view the lake about a mile before Rangeley, if you’re driving in from the east. This is where we took these photos.
What’s really neat is that whenever we stop somewhere, there are bound to be these small informational boards that share some history of the area. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I enjoy taking pictures of these. Keeping with tradition, I managed to gather some photos of the four that were available to me at the lake lookout. Check them out. If you click the image, you’ll be able to read what each one says.
Interesting little bit of history, eh? I thought so.
After Laura and I made it into town, we stopped by a local pub called Sarge’s. It’s a good place to eat and one of my friends from Jiu-Jitsu works there, so I liked seeing him. We had our usual beer and veggie burgers and left to go for a walk through town. Of course, since it’s a very slow time of year up there in Rangeley, not much was open. Kind of nice though, not seeing anyone.
Next time we visit, we’d like to check out the big and beautiful Rangeley Inn. That should be good. There’s also a restaurant called, “The Gingerbread House” in the next town over – Oquossoc, Maine. That one looks interesting and may be worth a stop.
A Photo Tour of Smalls Falls in Maine
Since Laura has been to Smalls Falls only once, and since we lost most of our light before we arrived during that visit, we thought that a final stop at the falls was in order. Especially since the leaves are almost at their full fall brilliance. Yesterday was a phenomenal day for leaf peeping in Maine.
The nice thing about visiting this destination on a Thursday in October is that there is virtually nobody there. I remember stopping by with Steve last July – we could hardly find a parking spot for the bikes. This time, we drove right up to the front, next to the stairs that led down to the water. For most of our visit, we were virtually alone. It wasn’t until we were leaving that a group of, what seemed like, photography enthusiasts began making their way down the hill to the water. Tripods everywhere. What a sight.
I think the primary reason for our visit was to capture the colors. Like I mentioned above, they’re almost at their peak and we wanted to see all the sunshine we experienced yesterday bounce off of and shine through what we could. We had good luck for about an hour and then the sun began setting behind the ridge, shading the main falls. We’re losing light fast these days. That’s fine with me because I get to stay inside and write without any distraction from the outdoors attempting to pull me from my seat.
I suppose I’ll begin with the quintessential shot of the falls. This is the one virtually every single person who visits takes. When you cross the wooden pathway, it’s to your right.
I actually wandered off the path a bit to stand on a rock in the water to take a few shots. My location was fairly close to the action. The results I got were blurry around the edges due to the wide angle nature of my lens. Because of this, this post consists of mostly Laura’s photography. She consistently embarrasses me with her skills.
While I was hanging out on that rock, I took a bunch of shots of the water. Of course, these always look better in person, but I think I brought its essence out with some minor editing in Camera Raw.
When you see this next picture, you’ll understand why we went out yesterday. This year’s lighting can’t be beat.
Of course, some leaves are still green. I’d say we’ve got the rest of the month to enjoy the colors. It seems like the change is a bit late this year. Right now, we’re at where we were two weeks ago last year.
When I first visited the falls with Steve, we walked up along the fence and admired the primary clusters of pools. We didn’t hike straight back from the entryway to see that there was another river that runs parallel to Smalls Falls. In my opinion, the one in the back is more fun. It’s sort of like a small canyon. It’s got pretty high walls and lots of features.
I’ll tell you, the hiking in that area is fun. The ground is soft from all the white pine needles and there’s not much underbrush. If you were Laura, you could hang out back there all day taking pictures. And if it were up to her, that’s what we would have done.
I’ve got one last photo for you. Near the other river, whatever it’s called, there are tons of hemlock trees. And with these trees come crazy root systems that show through the soil. We took many pictures, but I think this one captures what I’m trying to say the best.
Visiting Smalls Falls in Maine – By Motorcycle
On Saturday, Steve managed to get in touch with me and asked if I’d like to join him and his son for a motorcycle tour up and around Rangeley, Maine. I excitedly accepted his invitation and less than an hour later, I was sitting upon one of his many motorcycles. In this case, I rode a Triumph Bonneville. Nice bike and really fun to ride. We toured about 112 miles in a few hours and it was a blast riding like I used to. Here’s one of my more dorky pictures:
I took many pictures throughout the day – too many to show in one post. Since there were a few “spots” we spent time at, I figured it would be better to break things up a bit.
The first place we stopped at is called “Smalls Falls.” It’s located in Township E in Franklin County, Maine. I guess the town doesn’t have a name. That happens up here.
Anyway, I thought that taking a quick picture of the bikes was in order.
I initially thought we were just pulling over for a rest. We had ridden for about a half hour and the sign out front said in big, bold letters, “Rest Area.” After we pulled in and after I saw how things were situated, I figured we were someplace good. I asked Steve where we were and he confirmed that we were at a series of waterfalls. Pretty damn neat.
After we parked the bikes and walked through the parking lot, I noticed a few signs. Since I always take pictures of these things, I decided to do so here as well.
The first sign educated the public on how mountains are formed and the second sign talks about what types of trees were around us. You’ll see those trees in the following pictures.
The signs were right next to the stairs that lead to the Sandy River.
After we made it to the bottom of the stairs, we got a better view of the first and second falls.
And as we continued walking, we were greeted by some signage and a very beautiful mixed pine forest.
That smooth path didn’t last for long. After we walked to the right, we (or I) discovered that we were going to have to do some hiking. And by that, I mean climbing over roots and huge boulders.
Luckily, for the weaker and less agile hikers, there was a chain link fence for people to grab onto. Of course, I didn’t use the fence – because I am agile and strong.
The following pictures show some of the falls. I’m not going to describe each one because they’re all kind of similar. I will say though that there are many of them. Probably about five in all, going all the way up the mountain. Some slides made of rock, some drop offs and some swimming holes. Very nice place and well worth another visit.