I love the feeling of turning down the Parlee Brook Road into a valley that gets narrower and narrower. The road bringing you startlingly close to the tumbling brook at times. The final squeeze into depths of the valley is darkened by the towering ridgelines until its just you and the clear brook. If you roll down the car window you can hear the brook whisper.
We parked on the bridge near the stone building that is known as the Abbey. From here we climbed Arnold's Hollow Road, that I like to imagine is a relic from pioneer days. The valley's silence is broken as we share stories and talk about doing stuff outdoors in the area.
It's a cool day, overcast and recovering from the previous day's hard rain. Dampness hangs in the air, needling its way into my clothes and keeping me cool. That is until we begin the final steep ascent to the Nose. The path at this point narrows and is washed out at parts. We stop for views into the hidden valley below. I've made many winter trips into the Hidden Valley and it's allure still burns strong.
The wind whips at us as we step onto the rocky platform called the Friar's Nose. In front of us is a rumpled canvas of fall colours, grey, brown, green, and purple. From the Nose you get an unmatched view over the twisted hills of Waterford and the rolling ridgelines of Sussex and Newtown. The well knonw Bluff is visible as a thin strip over the Dutch Valley and over its shoulder rises Piccadilly Mountain. In the distance Mount Pisgah rises like a slow moving wave ready to swallow Sussex. From here you can make out the backside of Poley Mountain and even gain a view of the rocky bluffs that face its lodge.
It's a quick jaunt back to the cars where the wind is silenced by the ridgelines and the brook whispers under the bridge.
graham waugh local motion new brunswick outdoors adventure sussex parlee brook friar's nose hidden valley waterford