The Cascade Falls area has been a popular hiking, fishing and picnic area since the late 1800's. It is also a beautiful place to stop and view the waterfall. The land surrounding the falls had been owned by the Aube family who owned and operated the iconic Cascade Restaurant and Cabins, a local landmark since opening in 1929. It was sold to Elliot Chamberlain in 2005, and the Cascade Restaurant served its last lobster dinner in the summer of 2009. Upon purchasing the site, Chamberlain generously donated 14 acres of land surrounding the falls to the City of Saco, along with funds for improvements to the site.
Saco Bay Trails, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, has built/maintained trails to the falls and has plans to add a bridge across the brook to provide easier access to the viewing area at the top of the falls. A special thank you goes out to both the City of Saco Parks and Recreation Department and the Saco Bay Trails organization for granting permission and support for this Earthcache.
The Cascade Falls area has an interesting history. At one time, this was a slate mine. This area also provided the scenery for a silent movie during the 1930s, masquerading as the Alaskan Yukon.
Should you venture across the brook and on to the other opposite bank, you'll find a trail that leads up to the top of the falls. Here, you will find an old cage which featured a bear for the amusement of tourists during the 1950s. Continuing up the trail, you can turn to the left and follow the trail across an old dam that was built many years ago to create a trout pond. This trail continues through the pines to the top of the falls.
This Earthcache looks at the geology of the area. Cascade Falls is a great place to view some local bedrock. The rocks in this location belong to the Casco Bay Group, a diverse assortment of metamorphosed volcanic rocks, shales, and limestone, deposited during Ordovician time (485-443 million years ago). Within the Casco Bay Group, the oldest rocks exposed at the surface at Cascade Falls belong to the Spring Point Formation. These consist of crudely layered basaltic volcanic ash and can be seen behind the waterfall. These rocks formed as hot lava erupted on an ancient ocean floor when this area of Maine was below sea level. The lava became fragmented on contact with the cold ocean water. As volcanic activity ended, gray, marine clay was deposited and eventually became cemented together to form the sulfidic shale of the Scarborough Formation that accumulated conformably in thin beds on top of the volcanic pile. The shale in this area has since metamorphosed into slate and schist.
The falls themselves were formed by glacial action during the last ice age, which ended in this area about 11,000 years ago. The path of the falls along the creek show an erosional pattern in which the water has eroded sediments and less resistant rock. The rock ledges on either side of the falls are schist, which is the primary rock type seen in the area today. Much of the slate has been eroded away by the Cascade River.
To log this Earthcache:
Please email me with the name of the cache, “Cascade Falls,” the number of people in your group, and the answers to the following questions:
At the waypoint, N 43 32.557 W 070 24.341, you will see rocks on the path, both in front and behind you. Of these rocks, which rock type is MOST RESISTANT to weathering and erosion? (Describe the color and texture of the rock/mineral if you don't know the name.) How can you tell this rock is more resistant compared to the other adjacent rock type?
Estimate the height of the falls above the level of the water in feet.
Optional: Please post a photo of you and your GPS at the waterfall. It is amazing how the falls change in appearance throughout the year, depending on the amount of precipitation and, therefore, water flow in the Cascade River.
I hope you have enjoyed this Earthcache and the view of the waterfall. Thanks for visiting!
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