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Amazing Information from the Souhegan Valley Land Trust…Purgatory Falls in Mont Vernon, NH

September 11, 2013

Remains of an old mill at Purgatory Falls. It is always fascinating to run into remains of early industry or farming as I hike around New England.

And here is the Falconer Mill in operation.

Hiking out along Purgatory Brook is phenomenal. Besides finding these mill remains you will run across soft green moss, all kinds of ferns, every sort of granite and three waterfalls. The information about the trails below is courtesy of the Mont Vernon website Please be advised (by me) that following the trails at Purgatory Falls is very difficult. If you can make it up and down the whole trail the first time you go you deserve an orienteering medal. Whatever the case, Purgatory Falls is always full of surprises and is a hiker and photographer’s dream.
“Purgatory Brook Watershed Trails-Mont Vernon
The Wah Lum Loop Trail, marked with orange diamonds is approximately 3 miles round trip and begins at the kiosk on Dow Road. A short spur trail across town conservation land brings you to the loop trail on South Wah Lum Reserve. If you take a right, the trail climbs up, crossing the Nadeau Forest, and onto North Wah Lum Reserve to the view, looking toward Pack Monadnock and North Pack Mountains. The Wah Lum Loop Trail then makes a very rocky, steep descent down toward the Purgatory Brook and takes a left, eventually overlapping with the class VI Dow Road & Purgatory Brook Trail. Follow orange markers along class VI road past Nadeau Forest and South Wah Lum, turn left back toward spur trail, or go straight on Dow Road back to parking area.
The Purgatory Brook Trail, marked with yellow rectangles and white blazes, is approximately 6 miles round trip, beginning in the parking area located on the Milford/Lyndeborough line after Fitch’s Dairy Farm. After a half mile hike into the woods, you come to the Lower Purgatory Falls. The trail continues into the town of Mont Vernon with part of the trail on private property, so please stay on the trail. The trail crosses into town conservation land along the Purgatory Brook and eventually overlaps with the class VI road, Dow Road and the Wah Lum Loop Trail (orange diamonds).   Just before a small wooden bridge the trail continues on toward the Middle Falls and then on to the Upper Falls.   Hikers should wear proper clothing & shoes and be familiar with the area as cell phones do not always work.   Some areas are steep and difficult especially near the Falls, estimated round trip time up and back approximately 3 hours.
Please carry out all trash and leave no trace. Passive recreation and hunting (according to NH State laws) are allowed. Camping is only allowed after making an appointment with the Conservation Commission and obtaining written permission. However, absolutely no camps fires or wheeled motorized vehicles are allowed.”–Mont Vernon, NH
Remnants of the old water wheel at Falconer Mill

All for now folks. I have some reading and dreaming about New Hampshire’s early history to do. Oh, and I better get back out to Purgatory Brook with my Hike a Pup dogs to dig around looking for all the precious items preserved by the hard work of the Souhegan Valley Land Trust and their donors.

All the photos above are courtesy of the Souhegan Valley Land Trust. Check out their Picassa web album for lots more information and excellent photos.

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