Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Walking where I've never walked before

Sunday was one of those perfect fall days that draws people outdoors like bears to honey. No excuses or explanations are needed. The weather is simply too wonderful to spend indoors, and it doesn’t matter how much housework or yard work you are leaving undone. Out you go. I was no exception.
This time I wanted to do something a little different. I have been stomping through Michaux State Forest in Adams and Cumberland counties for all my life and seriously stomping there for the past 40 years or so. And there are still places I haven’t trod, and this time I was determined to find one of them.

My plan was to follow a section of Mountain Creek south of Tumbling Run Game Preserve. I’ve hiked to the falls at Tumbling Run more times than I can count, dozens certainly. It never fails to thrill, but I knew on this weekend and in this weather it would be filled with lots of other hikers. I was hoping for something a little more solitary and quiet.
So I headed to Woodrow Rd. and found a spot to pull over and started my ramble along the creek. Michaux is much a forest of hemlocks, rhododendrons and mountain laurel, so the fall colors of deciduous trees are not as predominant here as they are at Roundtop. But the scent of the pines and the bubbling creek makes up for that.

I was surprised to find the ferns here already fading to brown. At Roundtop, all except the few maidenhair ferns are still green. The pine needles muffled my footfall, and except for the stream, the woods were very quiet. Only a few jays screamed in the distance. One red-breasted nuthatch scolded and then flew. I saw few other birds. That was fine with me—a quiet walk through a beautiful forest needs no enhancement.

I don’t know how far I walked. I seem to be incapable of walking 100 yards without taking a photo, so my pace and forward progress was slow. That was fine, too. Enjoying the woods shouldn’t be a hurried experience and whatever slows your progress is worthwhile.

I spent much of this gorgeous day here in Michaux forest, and though I walked in one section of the forest where I hadn’t walked before, I found at least 6-7 other spots where I hadn’t yet walked either. I’ve added those to my list for the next time. Oh, and you’ll be seeing a lot more of my photos here this week, too.


Scott said...

Looking forward to more photos, Carolyn. Kali and I need to drive about 1-1/2 hours (up to Blue Mountain) to get away from crowds and get to scenery similar to that found in Michaux, so we rarely make the effort.

Emille said...

Beautiful views, Carolyn! I so love the forest. Once you have lived there, it always calls you back.