Saturday, 1 June 2013

Hartville, Hants County
N 44° 56.705 W 064° 02.258 
UTM: 20T E 418141 N 4977374

RIVER: Parsons Brook
CLASS: steep cascades
SIZE: 30', 30'
RATING: average (***)

TRAIL: abandoned rail line, bushwhacking, scrambling
HIKING TIME: 1.5 hours
CONDITIONS: moderate to challenging 

Geocache: none

NS Atlas Page: 57/Z2

NS topo map: 021A16 (Windsor)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: from Windsor, take exit 4 off HWY101, and drive west along HWY1 (Evangaline Trail) for 1.2km, turning left onto Hartville Road. Follow this road 1.7km to a level trail crossing just before a sharp left hand turn in the road. Park well off the road past the tracks.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION: walk down the path next to the tracks to your right. You can follow this trail easily to the base of the pillars of the train trestle above, and then down to the brook. 

Hike upstream, picking your way across the large rocks in the stream from side to side for easiest access around steep sections. There are a few small cascades along the way that are picturesque, but otherwise not very noteworthy.You will also have to navigate around two large stillwaters, and if you happen to have your fishing rod (and valid fishing license) along, theres lots of great big boulders to perch on and cast your line out a couple of times. I could see the fish jumping on my visit here, taking out too few of the swarming black flies I encountered.

Parsons Falls are on the far side of the stream, about 150m downstream of Parsons Dam, part of the St.Croix River Hydroelectric system that includes St. Croix Dam Falls, Upper St. Croix Dam and Salmon Hole Dam (with its attendant falls). This old dam is not in the best repair, the water cascading thru cracks in the old infrastructure, rather than overtopping it.

The main falls are a very steep cascade that is probably best visited after a heavy rain. A twin fall to the main falls wass clogged up and dry on my visit. They both drop approximately 35-40 feet over a steep hill, with trees growing up along the main runs.

A little way downstream along Parsons Brook, another tributary features a small landscape with a nearly dead waterfall emptying into a very still and very green pool. It is an otherworldly place.