Monday, October 18, 2010

Venturing Out on Vacation, Part Three: Falling for Jackson

Wooden Snow RollerRemember what I said yesterday about not being sure if I was hale and hearty enough to live in the Jackson area of New Hampshire during the winter months? Chances are good I'd be complaining about how cold I was for the entirety of winter but by the same token, I'm willing to bet that winters in New Hampshire are a lot nicer than winters in Connecticut for a variety of reasons - not the least of which one is easier able to find romanticism in the mountains!

For example, see that gadget pictured above?  That is an old-fashioned snow roller that was used back in the days before snowplows were around.  It was pulled by a team of six horses or possibly oxen and was used to pack the snow down which then made the roads perfect for sleighs and sledding.  Not liking to drive in snow myself, I think this would have been an absolutely fantastic way to get around during those cold winter months - especially if you had a couple nice warm blankets and someone to cozy up to in the sleigh!  Honestly, I think I may have been born in the wrong century sometimes!

Rolling Snow

The Wildcat River at Jackson FallsGuarding the CropsThe refurbished snow roller is found on Carter Notch Road at the base of Jackson Falls where the Wildcat River ends its tumble down across all of the boulders and rock ledges and crosses under the 1931 Stone Bridge - yet another thing I need to go back and get a picture of!  I believe that that particular area is what was called the historic Jackson Falls area of Jackson and it really was very pretty - just like the rest of the town was.

When you get right down to it, I really needed more than just one late afternoon/evening to capture more of the magic that made Jackson so charming but that's okay as it gives me all the more reason to go back up one of these days!  I certainly don't mind chewing my cabbage twice if given the opportunity and considering I've been finding one adorable little inn after another while doing my research, I get the feeling I could go back up to Jackson quite a few more times and never get tired of it.  The area reminded me a lot of the mountains around Lake Tahoe though obviously in a quaint New England way versus a California pioneer way!

I guess my fascination with the area goes back to me always being partial to the mountains versus the seas and then when you add on all of the history that can be found in the White Mountains I just get all caught up in it.  Though the more I think about it, the more I could see myself living quite happily in a place like Jackson.  Now I just need to find an eligible bachelor with a sleigh looking for a companion!  Or win the darned lottery!

Anyway, all foolish daydreaming aside ... back to my falling for Jackson Falls - literally!

As I mentioned yesterday, Jackson Falls is near the center of Jackson Village and powered by the Wildcat River which was designated as New Hampshire's first federally designated "Wild and Scenic River".

Jackson Falls, New Hampshire

In the picture above, which was taken in the area of the upper falls, I'd have to say that the river doesn't look very wild at all but it's certainly very scenic, right?  Jackson Falls is made up of a series of cascades, slides, and small plunges with a total drop of only about 100 feet from the upper falls to the lower falls.

Jackson Falls, New Hampshire

Along the way there are lots of small pools that are very popular swimming spots in the summer months and if you're looking for a rock to sun yourself on this is most definitely the place!

Jackson Falls

The area is a very popular spot for tourists - like myself - all year-round and that was no exception the afternoon that I was there trying to play intrepid photographer and make sure I captured the beauty of the area for my loyal blog readers.  Luckily people were coming and going rather quickly after snapping their own shots of the water so I was able to get most of my pictures taken without anyone else in them.  An occasional person did pop up, though, like the guy at the bottom of this picture.

Jackson Falls, New Hampshire

Luckily, that guy wasn't around when I was rather rudely reminded that I don't exactly have the agility of an elk and found myself sprawled out on the rocks on my hands and knees trying to keep my Nikon from getting damaged.  It was not exactly my most graceful moment on earth and I can joke about it now but in retrospect, it could have been a rather disastrous moment as well as my last moment on earth had things gone horribly wrong.

The Wildcat River at Jackson Falls

First off, I should probably mention that I was alone on this particular little venture having dropped my mom and Jamie off at the Inn where we were staying before I wandered out into the local area with my camera.  I had asked Jamie if she wanted to go with me but she said it was too chilly for her thin Florida blood so off I went alone in search of pictures.

The Wildcat River at Jackson Falls

Alongside the falls, there is a small hiking path that people can use to better access the falls and the rocks beside them and I had no problems negotiating that path even though it was a little narrow in places.  The water level of the river was down quite a bit being that New Hampshire had a dry summer very similar to the one we had in Connecticut so it was easy to walk out on the rocks pretty close to the water.

Falls Cottage at Jackson Falls

I wanted to try to get as close to the spot where the falls start to tumble down on a bit more of a decline so that I could take a couple pictures so I wandered out to a spot that gave me a decent view of the area below. While there, another older gentleman came out on to the rocks next to me and said that he came to the falls every autumn and that he had never seen the water level down so low before.  He told me that had we been standing where we were the year before, that we would have been standing in a decent amount of water.  As it were, we were quite high and dry.

View from the top of Jackson Falls

The gentleman took a couple of pictures then said that was it for him and he was ready to go.  I stayed and took a few more pictures before I changed lenses on the camera, threw my backpack over my shoulders, and turned to head back up the rocks the way I had come. The next thing I knew my feet had slipped out from under me and I found myself landing rather soundly on my right knee while trying to cushion the Nikon with my right hand as I came down almost flat on my face.

Jackson Falls

A Lone Tree Standing

While still lying on the rocks, I accessed that the camera didn't seem to have suffered any damage and attempted to get back on my feet when I found myself starting to slide backwards towards the edge of the rocks.  Ut-oh, this could be bad as obviously my Nikon is not waterproof!  Fortunately I was able to stop myself from sliding, regain my footing, and gingerly make my way back over to the small trail.

Rocks and Water at Jackson Falls

Of course the next thing I did was to quickly look around to make sure that no one had seen my less-than-graceful maneuver and then I took the time to make sure that everything seemed to be functioning okay on the camera, checked to make sure I didn't have a bloody gash in the knee of my jeans, and then I went back to taking more pictures as if nothing had happened.  Well ... after posting a Facebook update about the incident!

Jackson Falls, New Hampshire

Jackson Falls

It didn't dawn on me until later that evening how close I had come to sliding down those rocks into the water and down to the lower falls.  I'm pretty sure that had that happened then a lot more than the Nikon would have been damaged and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be sitting in the comfort of my dining room telling you this tale.  As they say, "there but for the grace of God go I" and I've said thanks many times over that I only ended up with a banged-up knee and story to tell.

Knee Pain
Pretty, ain't it??

Jackson Falls

I've also told myself that if I'm going to be going out and doing this sort of thing that I need to a) buy a better pair of shoes that are designed for walking around out on potentially slick rocks and b) I really should have someone with me just in case 911 needs to be called.

Carter Notch Road (NH Route 16B)

As I got back into the car to leave, I was glad to see that all of these people walking on Carter Notch Road next to the falls weren't there when I took my tumble ... or who knows? Maybe they were and one of them has a picture of some middle-aged woman nearly sliding to her death while trying to protect her camera ... or worse yet ... video that they were hoping to send into America's Funniest Videos to try to win $10,000.  Shudder! 


  1. First order of business: Get thyself to the store for some hiking boots ASAP.

    Second order of business: bwahahahaha! Why do we bother to worry whether anyone saw us do something stupid or ungracefull? Does it somehow make us un-ungracefuller? (It's a word if I say it's a word!)

    Good blogger! And good Facebooker! You got the Breaking News in before anyone else scooped the story.

    All kidding aside, the scenery is simply breathtaking and you and Miss Nikon did a fabulous job! I would so love to one day go on a sleigh ride with a special someone and a thermos of Hot Chocolate!

    Still homesick but I'm loving reading these foliage posts. Big hugs from your transplanted New England friend :]

  2. Anonymous6:54 AM EDT

    look at that cool, crisp water. wonderful captures of the season. Love the beautiful colors.

  3. I'd heard of rolling cigarettes, but never rolling snow. Very interesting!

  4. Anonymous8:30 AM EDT

    barb's hot chocolate with a nog of peppermint schnapps. MMMMM

    Please be careful. We'd like to keep you around. I see all these photos of Autumn colors and water and nature and really thank God we have such a beautiful world!

  5. Anonymous8:31 AM EDT

    Oh, and snow rolling? tee hee (Lois, get thy mind out from the gutter!). Seriously. never heard of that.

  6. I really enjoyed this post — especially the snow roller, which I had never seen before. Heard of a lot, tho. Good luck with staying warm. I'm already cold most of the time, at home, church, work. Nobody is cranking up the heat anymore! Your photos are awesome.

  7. Duchess Linda, Take care of thyself! I did read the Facebook update of your fall ~ seems like it could have been a much worse episode.

    We are all relieved you are here to tell the tale!

    That snow roller is interesting. Never heard of that.

    The photos are spectacular. Love the header. I've been a stranger (again) and need to catch up with your escapades up North.

    Have a great Monday.

  8. I have always wondered why you do these types of things by yourself. It's safer in pairs. Just saying.

    Great shots as always. What a great place to explore indeed. I can see why you love it so.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

  9. Cameras can be replaced--YOU can't be replaced!

    Hiking boots and a hiking partner. Just sayin'. The photos are absolutely breathtaking, but we want you around so you can show us more of them:))

    Big grateful hugs, honey...

  10. That snow roller could come in handy in the winter.

  11. Sorry you hurt yourself, but those pictures were worth it since the spill wasn't fatal. You wouldn't want to be famous posthumously. As a reward:

    1050 pictures of David Tenant :-)

  12. ouch! but at least you got the blog shots! good girl! i'll bet you are a tad sore though honey!

    smiles, bee

  13. tsk tsk

    but the photos are lovely

  14. Fantastic photos Linda. I partcularly like the snow roller and the scarecrow. Glad to hear you didn't lose your camera when you lost your footing and suffered no ill effects.

  15. Scenery is in good hands when you turn your camera on it.

  16. pretty pictures but those sled rides are COOOLLLDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Well my goodness, I'm soooo glad the camera is ok!!! LOL Just teasing you, as you say it could have been so much worse and I thank God that you're safe and sound after that tumble. I shudder to think how we could have lost you!! I guess there is a reason why they say you should never go hiking alone and that you should have the proper footwear. Such beautiful pictures you took, though, and like you I've always prefered the mountains to the sea:-) xoxo


Thanks for visiting!