Monday, October 14, 2013

Ohiopyle State Park: Escaping the Rain

It rained a lot in the Mid-Atlantic last week. A Lot. Baltimore-Washington International Airport received over 5.5 inches of rain on Friday alone. By Sunday, we were ready to see some sun and dry out a little bit. With federally-managed lands closed due to the government shutdown, we figured it was a great time to visit a state park. We headed west with Wild Type of Horizontal Tread, away from the storm, to Ohiopyle State Park in western Pennsylvania. Ohiopyle State Park has been on the hiking to-do list for a long time, but it is a three-hour drive, so we just hadn't gotten around to it before. We did a series of relatively short hikes that added up to seven or eight miles and let us check out several of the park's many waterfalls, which is the longest distance I've hiked since January of this year.

We started with the Meadow Run area. We did a loop that took us to a series of low waterfalls. Ironically, the streams were all running low in Ohiopyle State Park. Although it had rained the day before, the park is too far west to have gotten much of the rain from last week's storm.
The Meadow Run Cascades.
Looking down Meadow Run at the first hints of fall colors.

After completing the loop, we drove to Jonathan Run trailhead. We hiked down the trail along the stream, meeting just a few other hikers on the way. The fall colors are really just getting started, but we were treated to some bright leaves.
A pretty yellow tree along the trail.
Looking down Jonathan Run.
A bright orange fungus on a downed log. Maybe Chicken of the Woods?
Upper Jonathan Run Falls.
Getting to the lower falls on Jonathan Run was a quite a scramble. Since there had been a little bit of rain the day before, slippery wet leaves and roots made it even more interesting. I think I made most of the descent on my rear end. The view was totally worth it.
Another view of the lower falls on Jonathan Run. After scrambling back up to the trail, we hiked a little further downstream to the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, which passes through the park. We took a short break before returning to the car the way we came.

Our next stop was supposed to be Cucumber Run, but the parking lot was completely full, so we decided to go see the main attraction:  Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny River.
The main falls from the Ferncliff Natural Area, across the river from the main viewing platform. The area was pretty crowded with sightseers and fishermen, but it was worth the walk to get below the falls.
These fossils were a neat surprise on the walk down to Ohiopyle Falls. This is a Lepidodendron (a type of tree known as a scale tree) fossil. We saw other fossils, but most of them weren't clear enough to photograph well.

After returning to the car, we made another, this time successful, attempt to see Cucumber Falls. It was worth the wait.
 Cucumber Falls.
The view from behind Cucumber Falls. We had a great day. I was really happy to get back out in the woods after a long absence. We will definitely go back to Ohiopyle State Park.

No comments:

Post a Comment