The new photo above, was taken at one of my favorite local places: Hickory Run State Park, which is located at the very western border of the Pocono “Mountains” of Pennsylvania.
It depicts the “Old Stage Road”, which runs through the park as a hiking trail but converts to a public road at the park’s border.
Hickory Run is a fascinating place from a geologic standpoint. As I understand it, the park is situated on land at the very end of the ice sheet that formed over North America 18,000 years ago
The glaciated, “Pocono” portion of the park on the east is actually a high flat plateau with a mix of woodland and barrens species and the locally famous Boulder field (depicted in a photo published with the “Mountain Laurels” article”). As you travel west, the land falls off and with it, multiple streams tumble off the heights, through a succession of lovely glens, and over countless small (and some large) waterfalls, all flowing inexorably towards the Lehigh River at the park’s western border.
At places on the property, very dense pockets of second-growth hemlocks block out sunlight even in midday. This helps visitors to this park understand the descriptions by early settlers quoted in in park’s brochures of the “shades of death” they encountered here.
This was the description by colonists who travelled this wilderness centuries ago, fearful of attack by predators or aboriginal Americans, that they imagined were lurking among the vast groves of white pine and hemlock, many of which may have been 2-300 ft tall, and 500-hundred years old.
Those trees are long gone now, logged out in the 18th and 19th centuries for timber and tannin. They have been replaced by ancestors that are by comparison, mere adolescents. Nonetheless, as you pass through these dark verdent sections, you can easily imagine the anxiety of travellers riding on open wagon, in a stage coach, or worse, on foot as they traversed this dark, seemingly endless forest.
But I digress.
Unfortunately, the method I use to bring higher-quality images to the site does not appear to be available for the header image. I am stuck with less than crisp images at this location on the site.
I’m working on it.