Springs vibrant palette is worthy of its own box of crayons. Every conceivable hue of green, pops against rusty amber decomposed leaves, cold gray and tan boulders, pewter and charcoal tree bark and deep rich mocha soil. Mother Nature surely releases a sensory overload of sights, sounds and smells that signal longer days and warmer weather.
I was looking for a hike close to home that was relatively easy, Pulpit Rock Conservation Area seemed to fit the bill. The Conservation Area is located in Bedford just kissing the border of New Boston both towns located in NH. From Manchester take 293S to the junction of 101W and Route 114. Continue straight through 114 Goffstown/Heinniker, turn left on New Boston Rd, then the left after Esther Rd.
I was hoping to find some unique back story, on the internet, when I researched Pulpit Rock but Information was hard to find. One site did mention Pulpit rock was once referred as Devils Pulpit and was a popular destination in the 1800's. I like quirky back stories. Give me anything that resembles an In Search Of episode and I'm hooked. Unfortunately, no alien abductions or Sasquatch sightings here. Instead a geological wonder amazingly located in our own back yard
Pulpit Rock is 42 ft deep and 23 ft wide. It was formed 14,000 years ago during the Pleistocene Era (the last ice age) as the last of the glaciers started to melt and recede North. A much smaller Basin is located in Franconia Notch. The Pulpit was formed by tremendous amounts of water pressure forced through a small opening. What has resulted is quite a site to see.
I pulled into the parking lot around 2:30pm on a Friday afternoon. The lot was large there was just one other car there. The Kenard trial is marked with white rectangular markers. I followed the wooden plank walkways that segued into paths of semi buried rocks and exposed tree roots. I passed a really cool, well constructed tee-pee lean-to and a woman who just seemed to appear out of no where. It started to sprinkle so I stopped to put a cover over my pack to protect my camera gear. Eventually I reached the Kiosk and my destination.
Pulpit Rock looks ancient and it was as if I had entered a rain forest. Resonating throughout this natural amphitheater was happy bird chatter and the serene sound of gentle water falling against the steep narrow rocky walls. I explored for a while taking in this natural wonder before I decided to hit the ravine trail to the bottom. This trail is marked with a sign and has orange markers. The trail becomes rather steep and somewhat tricky. I enjoyed rock hopping, using trees as hand rails and jumping about. I eventually reached the bottom of the basin and found some dry ground. I positioned myself at the edge of the pool of water amassed from the falls I had passed on the way down. Fortunately, the sprinkles had stopped and the clouds were breaking to create a nice natural soft box.
It was time to break out the gear. I positioned my tripod and mounted my camera so that I was facing the falls. I composed and focused the image. My primary objective was to use my neutral density filter to achieve a cottony creamy effect of the waterfall. I calculated my shutter speed to compensate for the ten stop neutral density filter and spent about a good hour recomposing and fine tuning. The end result is the image above. Satisfied, I packed up my gear and headed back up the orange trail.
I scrambled about and did some more exploring around the bottom of the pulpit. Eventually I climbed to the top and followed the white trail back to the lot. I enjoyed this trail, it was easily marked, well maintained and round trip will probably take about an hour. I did not attempt to continue on to Gage's sawmill. I have read that this is a neat place to see so I will probably attempt it the next time.