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Nesowadnehunk Fall EarthCache

Hidden : 09/12/2007
1 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   other (other)

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Geocache Description:

This earthcache brings you to Nesowadnehunk Fall on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. This area has a rich history due in part to the unique geology that forms the falls.

But the tale of this falls really starts with the last ice age some 25, 000 years ago, when the Laurentide ice sheet which moved south overspreading New England and Eastern Canada came to a stop. The rapid climatic warming forced the Laurentide ice sheet to stop and begin to recede. This melting of the ice sheet released huge amounts of water causing massive flood the likes that has never been seen since that time. The rapid melting of the glacier released great quantities of water that quickly eroded the land leaving deep-sided valley as the water rushed to the ocean. In the area of Nesowadnehunk Falls the water ran into a harder type of rock known as the Kadahdin Pluton. This formation caused what is called Nesowadnehunk Falls, a classic block-style waterfall (also know as a "horsehoe" falls), developed on the jointed crystalline bedrock.

The formation became a part of modern history went in 1903, during the great logging era, Percy Johnson built a dam at the top of the falls using the bedrock as a foundation. The hand built timber dam 233 feet wide with eight gates and a 25 foot log sluice controlled the flow of logs down the river. The spring flood of 1932 completely blowout the dam. While it was repaired in 1934 it was never again considered to be very safe. At about the same time the Appalachian trail was making its way northward toward Katadhin with hikers using the dam as a major crossing. In the fall after a complete group of hikers were almost killed, Myron Avery, an admiralty lawyer used his Washington, DC connections to have a 200 foot suspension foot bridge built over the falls. In 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corp started to built the bridge which was finished in 1936. This bridge was the only crossing in this section of the river for many years. After WW II, in 1950, the bridge was once again rebuilt and finally in the mid 1950’s the bridge cables were damaged beyond repair by heavy snow and ice loads from the winter. It finally collapsed in 1963 ending the use of this section of river as a crossing because a new bridge had just been built down stream the year before known as the Abol Bridge. Remains of both the dam and bridge can be seen just up stream from the falls on both side of the river. It hard to imagine the important role this falls and the under laying rock played in the past as you watch the snowy white water tumble over the lip of the falls.

Today his powerful 100-foot-wide cascade drowns out the otherwise noisy, Golden Road, which is only yards away. The sound of the water giving it a wilderness character that is enhanced by the beautiful view of Katahdin, while looking down stream. The main activities now are Fly fishing, whitewater boating and sight-seeing common in all seasons due to the dam controlled water flow from Ripogenus Dam.

To log this Earthcache: You must send an e-mail of the estimated height of the water fall dropping over the center section to the river below. Please begin your e-mail with the name of the earthcache and make sure your log includes the number of people in your group. It also would be nice if you would post a photo so others would know what they have to look forward to at this earth cache.

Please use the parking lot and do not park where the signs say no parking. As this is a very busy area so please be careful which crossing the road making sure to look both ways before you cross. To find the fall just follow your GPS or better yet use your ears and follow the sound of the water as it tumbles over the falls.

If you enjoy this earthcache you may want to check the Maine Geological Survey located at (visit link)
They have developed a number of information sheets or field localities giving a great deal of information about geologic features. They also have a number of books and maps about Maine’s natural history/ geology that you might find interesting.

Additional Hints (No hints available.)