Exploration | Hiking | Travel

Spending Time With Profile Falls

If time is the ultimate currency, why do we spend it frivolously? I wondered that as I drove north, breaking away from work on a rainy Monday to chase a waterfall. I knew the drive, and thought that maybe I should have combined it with a hike, or another waterfall, or a meeting with an industry acquaintance. Instead I made the falls their own destination and turned off thoughts of efficiencies.

Profile Falls is an easy walk from the parking lot in Bristol, New Hampshire. You can’t call it a hike, really. You follow the path on the northern bank right to the edge of the water, and then decide how much you want to risk as you assess high, fast moving water, slippery rocks and poison ivy. My vote? Just enough to get a decent picture. Not enough to lose my phone and dignity to the mocking river gods.

Profile Falls

After following the path of least resistance, I returned to the parking lot and decided to try the view from the southern bank. The river turns just after the falls, making a view from this side trickier. I made my way past a picnic area to a wet path along the steep and rocky embankment. This quickly proved to be a dead end of sorts. The closer you got to the falls, the worse the vantage point became. I should think walking right up the river in low water might be the very best option. For me, this was enough.

The Smith River flows a few miles from just above Tewksbury Pond, gaining tributaries and power, before it gives itself to the Pemigewasset River, which flows into the Merrimack River at Franklin, New Hampshire and then 117 miles to the Atlantic Ocean at Newburyport, Massachusetts. It’s an epic journey, and one of the highlights is surely the 30 foot plunge over Profile Falls.

For those keeping track, there are a lot of place names there that I have a deep connection to, which should have drawn me out here sooner in my life than this, but it seems I was spending time more frivolously then. I’m making up for lost time in some ways. Chasing waterfalls in the rain and using my currency in ways that work for me.

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