It was a brilliant, sunny autumn day in New Hampshire, and the six of us set out in the morning to explore The Flume, a gorge in Franconia Notch State Park. According to NH Parks, “The Flume was discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey when she accidentally came upon it while fishing. She had trouble convincing her family of the marvelous discovery, but eventually persuaded others to come and see for themselves.” Can you imagine? “Yeah, sure Aunt Jess, whatever you say!”
I hadn’t been through the gorge itself since I was a kid, but had done some winter walks in the area a few years ago. People come out for ice climbing on the water that drips down the gorge’s sides, and I have a few photos of intrepid climbers, clinging to the shining blue ice. It’s a whole different world in warmer weather, though, and we had the perfect day for it.
Even the visitor center was incredibly picturesque, with light filtering in through the high windows.
This is the US and not New Zealand after all, so the gorge has an entry fee. However, that’s a good thing so they can control the wear and tear on this beautiful natural formation.
As I mentioned earlier, this area has been shaped by receding glaciers, so there are huge boulders all around the Notch. Andy for scale.
The hike to The Flume is worth it all on its own, and there’s a lot to see in this area of the state park.
I’ve always loved this bright red covered bridge over the Pemigewasset River, one of the oldest in NH and dating back to 1886. Clearly, it gets regular reinforcement and some fresh paint. I’ve also just learned that Pemigewasset means “swift or rapid current” in the Abenaki Indian language – thanks NH Parks!
After crossing the river, we followed the Flume Brook past Table Rock, a huge section of Conway granite worn smooth by the flowing water.
All along the brook, there are beautiful little waterfalls, each begging to be photographed.
Soon, we’d come to the start of The Flume itself. Thanks again, Aunt Jess!
It does get a little busy in here, with so many people stopping to take photos on the narrow walkway. Someone was even flying a drone around (definitely not allowed here). You’ve gotta appreciate the natural beauty aside from it all, though!
I had to jump at any photo op I could get without any humans in the frame.
It’s amazing that this little brook has worn through so much rock. You really can’t take anything for granite! Sorry.
The combination of fall leaves and lush greenery was just stunning – what an incredible spot. Mother Nature never ceases to amaze.
At the end of The Flume, Avalanche Falls cascades over the rocks.
Now that we’d emerged from the busiest part of the walk, we had the woods mostly to ourselves again. A lot of people get bussed in or do only the short part of the trek to The Flume and back, while we’d opted to do the full two-mile loop.
Can you see why? View vistas like this, The Flume is just one among many epic sights on the walk.
Oh look, another boulder!
The Flume Brook meandered along beside us, dipping in and out of the forest.
A side trail took us down to Liberty Gorge (can you tell we’re in America?), with yet another lovely waterfall.
Another viewing spot looked out on Sentinel Bridge, built atop an enormous centuries-old Sentinel Pine that fell in a 1938 hurricane. It once stood nearly 175 feet (53 m) tall. You can just barely make it out in the shadow of the covered bridge.
I love this photo of Andy and my dad on Sentinel Bridge.
Two of my favorite guys in the world. : )
The bridge has great views out over the deep basin below, aptly named The Pool.
Here’s a better view of the bridge, where you can clearly see the Sentinel Pine beneath, along with some other infrastructure to keep everything solid.
Time for some Fly shots.
Thanks, photog Andy! Love how these came out. ♥
The White Mountains are just such an incredible place, no matter the time of year. If you haven’t been and you get a chance, go!!!
Here’s the menfolk doing some heavy lifting.
One more newlywed shot for good measure.
See you next time, you fabulous, fascinating, fantastic Flume!
If you thought we were done for the day, we’re not! Up next, we take the historic cog railway to the top of Mount Washington, the highest of the Presidential Peaks, towering over all of New England.