I’ve been chipping away at the outside to-do list this week, but a couple of days ago, Wednesday, the weather was so very dreary. Off and on rain, which has been the norm for better than a week now, and the temps were chilly for May. I said the hell with it, and declared a Zero Day- nothing coming off the list that day.
With all the water we’ve had lately, combined with the end of the runoff at the higher elevations, the streams and rivers are swollen now. I decided to head over to my old stomping grounds in northwestern Maine to check out some of the waterfalls, figuring they’d be pretty full. I was right.
My first stop was a couple hours away in Rumford, Maine, at Rumford Falls. The Androscoggin River flows through the center of this town, and it’s a big river. I’ve seen these falls countless times, but never with quite this volume coming through.
Before heading into the hills to the next cataract, I had a quick lunch at The Lure, which is now on Rumford Island. When traveling between home and Orono Youngest Son and I discovered this place years ago when it was up on Route 2. They have good sushi and Thai food.
The next place on the list I’d not visited before. Smalls Falls is located in an unorganized territory near Phillips, not far from Rangeley. There’s a nice rest and picnic area at the falls, but it’s still closed this early in the year. But there is room to park near the gate and walk down. It’s only a couple hundred yards.
Though it was still raining lightly, that’s just what I did. Aside from the picnic area, there’s not a lot of improvements to the terrain. There’s a useful bridge over the Sandy River, and a fence to keep you from getting too close to the edge of the gorge, but that’s it. To climb up the side of the falls it’s over roots and granite rock face. Bring the no-slip shoes! The water sluicing down the falls was large, noisy and impressive. Here are a couple of short videos:
I thought the next stop, Coos Canyon was a new place for me, but once I arrived it looked familiar. I had passed this way last fall when Youngest Son and I went to hike Tumbledown Mountain. There was very little water in the river that day.
Coos Canyon is located right along Maine Route 17 in Byron. It’s rumored that you can pan for, and find gold in this section of the Swift River. There’s a small rest area with a few picnic tables, and a store across the road. Be careful on the bridge, as it’s only one lane wide.
Unlike the nearby county of the same spelling in New Hampshire, which is pronounced “koh-aws”, Coos Canyon is pronounced “kewz”. I have no idea why they’re different.
I continued the trip south on Route 17 to rejoin US Route 2, more or less heading for home. But there was one more stop along the way. I turned north up Route 26 for 10 miles- I wanted to see Screw Auger Falls. These falls are also right off the road in Grafton Township. There is plenty of parking. The trails along the falls go over bare rock, and there are some restraining barriers here and there.
These falls were very impressive. Previously I’d only seen them before during the height of summer, or early fall when the water levels are low- this was something new.
The rain had picked up some, and it was past 5PM. Time to call it a day and head back to the pond. It had been a quality “Zero Day”. How could it not have been? Waterfalls on a Wednesday- it doesn’t get much better than that.
Thanks for stopping by!