Sometimes life just doesn’t go according to plan. Last week, I was planning to spend a day visiting a few waterfalls in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, but after dealing with a flat tire, making a few wrong turns, and getting away a bit later than I had planned, I found myself at the parking area for Garwin Falls in the middle of a persistent rain storm, only to find some very prominent “No Parking” signs displayed in the parking area and for about a quarter mile down Isaac Frye Highway in both directions. I later learned that the town had passed an ordinance banning parking in the area near the trailhead due to the amount of litter left by visitors.
At that point, I considered my options. I could proceed to the waterfalls in Massachusetts, but by the time I got to the trailheads, it would be starting to get dark. I could just turn around and go home, but I was not about to go home with nothing to show for my trip! I could park illegally and hope I didn’t get towed and fined. But I finally decided to drive up and down the road to see how far I would have to go to find a place without “No Parking” signs, since there was no indication that the trail itself was closed to the public. A short distance past Sand Hill Road, I found a nice area to pull off where I would have to walk less than half a mile to reach the trailhead, so I decided to simply park there and add an extra fraction of a mile to my hike.
Before exiting my vehicle, I put my fully weather sealed Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro zoom lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera, which is also weather sealed, so that I wouldn’t have to change lenses in the rain. I grabbed a tripod, some neutral density filters, and a backpack with my first aid kit, water bottle, and other hiking equipment and began my trek. Upon reaching the trailhead, I only had to hike about six tenths of a mile to the waterfall and there was no one else on the trail the entire time. After taking several photos, I walked up the trail a bit to see the smaller waterfall upstream and took a few photos there. At that point, I realized I had used the wrong camera settings and had to run back down the trail to try to grab a few photos with the correct camera settings before it got dark. I ended up hiking back to my car in the rain by the light of my flashlight since it was getting dark early thanks to the dense forest and cloud cover, but I got some beautiful photos and had an enjoyable hike, even though it was a bit rainy.
For anyone looking for a short, easy hike in Southern New Hampshire with a lovely view, I highly recommend Garwin Falls. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to hike about a mile each direction to reach it. In fact, some people might want to just park in town and ride a bike to the trail, considering that the trail would be very easy on a good mountain bike.
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