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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Finding Pulpit Falls, Possibly


 This week's blog is a short discussion of my search for a back woods waterfall.  Nothing very special, but it is these quests that make photography in the wild a constant adventure.  It is all about the thrill of the quest.

With the end of winter (hopefully) New England photographers
Catsbane Tributary Chesterfield, NH
turn there attention to waterfalls.  Falling water is the one thing that helps us survive the early spring season until the foliage begins to explode.  I have been planning a blog to highlight my favorite falls in Cheshire County, much like my article last year about the cluster of waterfalls in Hillsborough County.  My favorites list includes many great nearby locations that I visit on a regular basis, but then I made the mistake of Googling "Waterfalls in Cheshire County".  A number of nice lists came up in the search and I was horrified to realize how many of the falls I had never explored or even heard of. There is no way I could find all these falls for my article, but one popped out from the list.  Pulpit Falls in Winchester, NH 




Pulpit Falls
The Wrong Falls
Pulpit falls has been a bit of a torment to me for several years.  I have seen a few picture of the falls in Flickr and have found a
couple of descriptions with directions that seemed rather vague.  I had tried to find the falls a few years ago but went up stream instead of down from the road.  I ended up finding a nice cascade, but it was definitely NOT pulpit Falls.  Every so often since,  I have looked for clearer directions to the falls and finally decided that an article about the waterfalls of Cheshire County was a reasonable excuse to give it another try.  The Wicked Dark Photography Blog had a nice story about finding the falls and armed with this description and others I headed  south to Winchester to try my luck again.

 




Looking West on Route 10, Winchester, NH
Pulpit Falls is located on Pauchaug  Brook, off of  Route 10 in Winchester, New Hampshire.  Coming from Chesterfield, I headed down Route 63 toward Northfield Massachusetts and turned east on Route 10.  The standard descriptions instruct visitors to look for  a rather sharp curve to the left a few miles down the road.  Toward the beginning of the curve  there is a jeep road on the right with a broad should on the left to allow parking.  I had to drive by twice before I caught sight of the road.  The point on the map was set by my GPS coordinates of:  
 42 43' 52"
-72 24' 31"
   It lies about 2.4 miles east of the intersection of Route 63 and Route 10.


Nellie and I descended the rough unplowed road and quickly found
Pauchaug Brook
Pauchaug Brook.  From that point all the directions advised to bushwhack up the stream until you find the falls.  On my visit last Saturday, the weather had warmed, but the stream was north facing and there was still a foot or more of snow in the gorge.  Sadly I did not bring my snowshoes and it was a struggle slogging through the cover.  I frequently sank to my knees and the snow snatched away the basket on my one walking pole.  I found two sturdy sticks that
Lower Cascade with a touch of Toning
worked better to keep me above the deep snow and pressed on. After a short distance I heard the welcome sound of falling water and I soon came upon two levels of cascades. Unfortunately both falls we're encased in ice and it was impossible to get a clear view to confirm that I had actually found the elusive Pulpit Falls.  The terrain beyond this point appeared flat and uninteresting and without sight or sound of other falls, but until I can get back to explore when the snow has cleared, all I can say is that I was sure I had found the right starting point and I may have found Pulpit Falls.  


Upper Cascade




The Falls One Week Later

 The descriptions of Pulpit Falls always portray a modest cascade, but modest as it may be, the search has become something of a quest, and questing is one of the great attractions of natural photography.  Hopefully my description will make it a bit easier for others to find this spot.  I'll be back to confirm the location of the falls, and then it will be on to Frye Falls in Walpole.  There is NO excuse for me not knowing all the major falls in my backyard.



Jeffrey Newcomer
Partridgebrookreflections.com

8 comments:

  1. Nice photography. I too live in SW NH and have found that there are more unknown waterfalls than documented falls. I find them everywhere, on public as well as private lands. Some go on for a mile or more with many cascades down wild hillsides. Diligent searches using Google Earth on maps of SW NH or SE VT will turn up these hidden gems along with secret lakes and ponds and with persistence and luck, one can even find old mines and quarries, some of which are now little, wet, overgrown Edens of natures beauty.

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  2. I saw the post on YouTube that you finally found pulpit falls. You should update this blog with some nice photos of the real thing. Glad you found it.

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  4. If you go further down in the forest more towards the mass/NH line there is an absolutely beautiful waterfall made of rock in the shape of a horseshoe and you can swim in the bottom it’s that deep. It’s completely made of stone all the way down. It is quite trek to get there but so worth it! There’s also caves. The best way to get there is down the power line trail but you can also get there following the brook that runs along the road and into the forest. You can’t miss it. Follow the trail up the falls and keep walking down the stream and you will come across a mini lake and there’s a gigantic bolder, keep walking towards that and you will see a trail where you can walk under the boulder and see more water falls. The best time to go is late summer and early fall, if you go before that you will be infested with ticks. I have been there 3 times and I’m hoping to go again soon, I just need someone to come with me.

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