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Mountains, waterfalls and just too much fun | Notes from the North Woods

My first stop was at US Falls, a popular swimming hole on the outskirts of Elizabethtown, where the tumbling Branch is squeezed through a smooth bedrock gorge to create a series of spectacular waterfalls.

The location features the remains of several old dams that once harnessed the river’s flow to power a tannery, a mill and an electric generating station. Today, all that remains is a battered old dam, a grist stone, and numerous concrete bases that once cradled a spillway and delivered the flow to a cinderblock powerhouse.

After basking for awhile at the base of the soaring falls, and marveling at the passing rainbows that continued to show in the mist of the thunderous flow; I decided to head south in the direction of the upper sections of the Boquet River near the location of the infamous ‘Malfunction Junction’, aka The Crazy Eights where Route 9 and Route 73 converge and diverge.

Located a short distance from the intersection of these two main routes is the junction of the North Fork and the South Fork of the Bouquet River which flow precipitously out of Dix Range.

There are easy to follow foot trails located along the banks of both branches, as well as a number of vehicle accessible campsites along the river banks.

The forests nearby the riverbed feature a combination of old growth white pine, cedar and hemlock which offer a sharp contrast to the surrounding hills which are covered with wide open hardwoods composed primarily of birch and aspen. The open hardwoods are a remnant of the great fires that swept through the region in the late 1800’s.

Although the trees are currently leafing out, the hillsides remain mostly wide open as do the riverbanks which have been scoured repeatedly in recent years as a result of historic high water events.

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