Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I know many of you reading look forward to my posts. When I am remise, it does weight on me. Sorry it has taken me so long to post something. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

This past weekend we headed out to Pittsburgh to visit with my good friend Ace and his family. On the way to Pittsburgh one must pass through some of the most beautiful country in all the United States, Western Maryland. We have talked of relocating to another part of the country for many years now, Western Maryland has been gaining on the list of choices. On a side note; look at that rusty bumper. Sure could use a sand blasting and painting. It looks like crap!

So, back to Western Maryland. There are many farms in Western Maryland still feeding America. The mountains might not look big and rugged like Colorado, but they are very beautiful none the less. Our mountains may never exceed tree line, but they hold many treasures for those desiring to find them.

One of those treasures is a 37 acre tract of virgin forest. Swallow Falls State Park contains this little slice of forest that somehow escaped the Woodsman's axe that has taken 99.1% of all the virgin forest in the entire United States. Staggering statistic is not? Only .9% of our virgin forest remains. For what it is worth, the United States is 2.3 billion acres total. The hemlock forest of Swallow Falls does not contain giant trees as Sequoia National Forest does, or like some of the National Parks out West, but it is a primal forest for sure.

Swallow Falls also contains a number of beautiful waterfalls. This is Muddy Falls. At 54 feet it is the highest free falling waterfall in the state.

Lower Swallow Falls is classed a cascading falls. It is not very tall, but the deep pools below it are very inviting.

This is Upper Swallow Falls. The last time Beth and I were here was in the Spring of 1994. The water was very high and was flowing from one side to the other.

The Upper Falls is right in the area of the largest trees. It was cool seeing both my girls with their lower lip hanging down as they looked up at the canopy.

I was in awe of all the textures of moss, fern, rotting bark, and little critters scurrying about the forest floor. We headed back to our campsite to build a fire, grill some pork chops and roast some potatoes over the fire. Since it was a Thursday, the campground was a virtual ghost town. The nearest occupied campsite was 7 spaces away.

Thankfully Swallow Falls State Park is not too well known by most of the population. Most people coming to this region stop off at Deep Creek Lake to rent a condo, run their speed boats up and down the lake, and never venture into the dark hemlock forrest up the road.

Back on the road. Pittsburgh bound....


Anonymous said...

Looks like a little slice of heaven. Are you allowed to jump in the water on a hot sunny day?


Carl said...

Nicely Done. I too love the deep dark recesses of a virgin stand of white pine and eastern hemlock. You will have to run up to Cook's Forest when you come to Penn Wood in the early fall. Cook's Forest somehow escaped the woodsman's axe too.