Soft Landing

   Returned from journey. All the world is a-Twitter. visited Trough Creek State Park – I’d give it a gold medal, too: good job, DCNR!

   Someone at the Trough Creek Park Office, at 7:01 this morning, had printed the five day weather forecast, thumbnail sketches and all, and posted it in the showcase window. This must be something to keep the rangers busy during the winter season, along with maintaining the roads and trails and answering calls for cabin and campsite reservations. The posting keeps the visitor well-informed and gives a bigger picture than looking at the sky and gauging the wind..

   The walk from the park office to the Ice Cave is beautiful. The creek bends in paper clip turns. An asphalt road parallels it. You are in a big ravine that gets bigger and deeper before entering Raystown Lake.

   The sections of rock strataalong the way, called the Ledges, are interesting from geologic, scenic, structural and artistic standpoints. Looking up at some of the cantilevered rock, I am reminded of Falling Water, the Frank Lloyd Wright designed house near Ohiopyle to the south and west.

   At some places, some of the rocks are splintered and look bundled. Some of the layers are broad and thick, some are as thin as sheets of mica. Their natural formations are eye-pleasing, I find.

   The forest appears to consist of hemlock and oak (chestnut, red and white) nearly to the exclusion of all other species. I read in the literature the trees were planted in the 1930’s as part of the Works Progress Administration, WPA, to help replenish the forest, depleted by early lumber industry and wood-cutting for fuel.

   The air breathes clear. I walked up a trail called Laurel Run for a few yards. Light snow on the rocks felt like not the best footing  so I did not press onward.

   At 5:00 I turned back in order to return to my car by sunset when the park closes. A lone kayaker, well-equipped and wearing headgear, torqued and spun down the creek in his craft. I reach my car about 6, so the walk was nearly three miles in and three miles out. If I could change one thing about Pennsylvania parks, it would be to include lodges in some of them, as West Virginia does so well, allowing visitors to stay overnight.

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