EXPLORING STARK FALLS BROOK: 8/11/14
Stark Falls Brook flows down through a steep and interesting drainage on the west side of Kinsman Notch, north of the far better known Beaver Brook with its many cascades. The waterfall for which this brook is named is down near the bottom of the drainage. I had visited it several times, and last winter I snowshoed partway up the north side of the ravine, high above the brook.
Spurred on by a recent exploration of the brook on Joe Richardson's Just Joe Hiking blog, I decided to devote a morning to wandering up the brook and seeking out cascades. From Rt. 112, I made the short bushwhack up to Stark Falls. Ironically, due to low water flow spread across broad ledges, the brook's namesake waterfall was its least impressive display today.
With a good flow of water, such as this day in May, Stark Falls is a lovely waterfall.
As I continued bushwhacking along the brook above Stark Falls, small cascades soon appeared.
Cascade and pool was a theme often repeated.
Sometimes fallen trees run interference on cascade viewing.
A beautiful, cozy little valley.
Much of the way I was able to clamber right up the streambed.
This was quickly becoming a favorite brook.
I took a break on a sitting rock to admire this little pool.
Just above, the brook slides over the edge of a large slab.
Continuing up the brook...
This side-by-side would look nice in high water.
Rocks under a crystal-clear pool.
One of the bigger drops along the brook.
Lots o' moss along the brookbed.
Beauty around every bend.
A varied little set of cascades.
A closer look at these side-by-side drops.
This mossy side brookbed provided a boulevard through the forest.
Along the main brook there was a small flume.
A cascade slipping into the top of the flume.
The brook dancing down through the rocks.
Luxuriant moss and a dark pool.
A nice stepped cascade - a fine spot for another break on a flat sitting rock.
They just keep coming!
The terrain was getting steeper.
Looking down the streambed, shaded by tall yellow birches.
A giant of the forest.
This graceful cascade was one of my favorites of the day.
Looking down from the top.
The last cascades before heading up the north slope of the valley to a cliff I had snowshoed up to last winter.
I followed the remnants of an old logging sled road (from the George L. Johnson/Gordon Pond Railroad logging operation in the early 1900s) up to the base of the cliff. The route was intermittently flagged by ice climbers.
Emerging at the base of the cliff.
The cliff from below.
Last winter it was draped in ice.
A side view of the cliff. Some tree-pulling whacking was required to get up, around and then down to the brink for a view. Not a bushwhack I would repeat.
It was a bit of a struggle, but eventually I wormed my way down for a hazy view looking through Kinsman Notch to Mt. Tecumseh and Sandwich Dome.
Some more maneuvering brought me to the top of the open part of the cliff, where the upper ledges sloped steeply downward.
Looking into the upper Stark Falls Brook drainage with Mt. Blue peering over in back.
Spur ridges of Mt. Blue and Mt. Waternomee.
Another nice view through the Notch.
After navigating a tricky route back down from the clifftop, I mostly followed old sled roads for my return trip down the valley, passing through some fine hardwood forest. It was a great exploration for a warm and hazy August morning.