Location: Andover, North Surplus, ME Finding : Easy once you locate the AT crossing. Access : Easy. A little hiking.
There were thunderstorms this afternoon with very heavy rainfall just before and during my trip to these falls. Although I managed to avoid the worst of the rain while I was actually looking at the falls, I did have to sit in my car for a while waiting for the rain to lighten first.
Originally, I was intending to visit Dunn Falls. I followed East Hill Road out of Andover for several miles. The road parallels the West Branch of the Ellis River for most of the trip. Finally, it climbs to a notch where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. The trail crossing is not marked and very easy to miss. However, the classic white blazes are visible from the car if you are looking for them and drive slowly. (Note: The trail crossing occurs somewhat below the height of land)
The trail descends an embankment and then crosses an "unnamed stream" on its way to Dunn Falls. However today, due to all the heavy rains that little stream was swollen to huge proportions. There was no bridge and there was no way I could have crossed it without special equipment.
However, a blue blazed trail marked as the "Cascade Trail" followed the stream downhill. The sign indicated that it reached "the falls" after some distance, suggesting that it doubled back in some way or that perhaps there were some other falls below.
I followed the Cascade Trail and was richly rewarded. The stream, filled to capacity with wild runoff, raged at my side. Although there were no large falls on the stream, there were many cascades, some significant and all impressive -- today at least. The water was brown with sediment and the noise was at times deafening.
The trail itself was a very pleasant walk through the woods. Today, lightening cracked and flashed overhead and significant streams of water poured across the trail from heights above, giving the walk a wild, exciting feeling. I expect that in more subdued times, it would be much more peaceful.
Finally, after perhaps a half mile, the trail crossed the stream. Again the crossing was impossible so I had to retrace my steps back to my car. Although I didn't get to see Dunn Falls, I was still quite satisfied with what I found. In calmer weather, this would be a nice spot to explore further.
Here is an interesting picture [133 KBytes] of one section of the stream. Although not the highest cascade, this picture came out nicely and gives you a good feeling of the how the forest enclosed the scene.
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