While we are in New Hampshire, Tom and I visited the Franconia Notch Flume Gorge. The Flume Gorge is the highlight and the most visited place in Franconia Notch State Park. It has a large Visitor’s Center where you can buy a ticket to enter the gorge.
Unlike some of the other areas that wanted us to pay to visit, the Flume Gorge is worth the money. There are two covered bridges which cross the Pemigewasset River. One of them, the Flume Covered Bridge, was built in 1886 and has been restored several times. The other one, Sentinel Pine Bridge, was built in 1939 using the wood of the Sentinel Pine Tree, which had a circumference of 16 feet when it was felled by a hurricane in 1938.
We walked through the beautiful old woods which surround the Pemigewasset River and Flume Brook. Most of the ground in the area is Conway granite, covered by a very thin layer of soil. Trees grow all around the boulders of granite and some of the root shapes are eerie. You wonder how anything can grow in the soil. Lichens, mosses, and ferns blanket the rocks and the ground.
The Flume Gorge is 800 feet long with granite walls that rise straight up to a height of 90 feet. Flume Brook cascades through the gorge beginning with Avalanche Falls. Avalanche Falls is a 45 foot waterfall that shoots down one direction, hits the granite wall and angles 90 degrees, then hits another granite wall and angles 90 degrees back. The rock walls are worn smooth from the force of the water throughout the gorge, proving that the force of running water is stronger than even the New Hampshire granite.
Cascade Brook and several small creeks run down the boulders of the mountains, causing pools and cascades everywhere in the area. We were amazed at how clear and cold the water was. You cannot go swimming or wading in the Flume Gorge area, but two miles away is the Basin area where wading is allowed. Hiking trails wander all over the area, following more brooks and the Pemigewasset River.
One of the highlights for Tom was going through the Wolf Den, a place where you have to get down on your hands and knees to make it through the narrow passages. I enjoyed the Pool, which is a deep basin in the Pemigewassset River 40 feet deep and 150 feet wide surrounded by cliffs that are 130 feet high. You could look at the Pool from the top of the cliff and see all the way to the bottom.
We really enjoyed exploring the Franconia Notch Flume Gorge. It is a beautiful place with abundant water in cascades, falls, pools, brooks, and the running river.