When my daughter visited me recently, I wanted to show her some of western Pennsylvania’s landscape without driving very far. Serendipity intervened by delivering to my mailbox “The Sylvanian,” the Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania chapter’s magazine. An article on Slippery Rock Gorge offered me a solution. A forty-mile drive from Pittsburgh, McConnells Mill State Park is home to some of the state’s most dramatic landscapes along Slippery Rock Creek and the gorge that was created by glaciers some two million years ago.
The glaciers left behind waterfalls, Homewood sandstone boulders, and a whitewater creek. The Pennsylvania State Parksystem offers trails and picnic spots where nature puts on a theatrical show for visitors. And it’s free since Pennsylvania doesn’t charge an entrance fee into any of its parks.
There are nine-miles of hiking trails within the park – some are more vigorous than others. We decided to hike the two-mile loop of the Kildoo trail, which begins/ends on either side of the 1874 covered bridge. Opposite the trail heads sits a gristmill constructed in 1868.
We didn’t have time to make it to the falls because this “moderate” hike took a little longer than we anticipated and our schedule required us to turn back. Even though it’s marked as moderate, the hike can be slippery and narrow at some points. Slippery Rock Creek roars below so falling off the edge of the gorge is not an option. If we had made it to the falls and crossed over the foot bridge, we would have been on the North Country National Scenic Trail, which runs through the park. This trail, a part of the National Park Service, goes from New York to North Dakota.
Next time I visit – and I will – I’ll plan my schedule better and be prepared to stay the whole day.
Serendipity is welcome in my life at any time. I’d love to hear about times this has happened to you.
NOTE: I’m cutting back on my blog writing starting this week. I’ve been writing four blogs a week – two for Living Lightly Upon this Earth and two for Writing, Tips, Thoughts, and Whims. While I enjoy writing the blogs and interacting with followers, I need more time for writing novels and nonfiction books. From now on, I will post two times – one for each of my blogs. Thanks for reading my posts. I’m always thrilled when I see someone has left a comment.