Friday, September 27, 2013

Just For Myself...

I had the day off for my birthday, so I decided to take advantage of the area's natural beauty and go for a hike.  I try to make it out to the Spruce Flats Bog at least once a year and hadn't had a chance to go out yet.  So, I packed my galoshes and drove up to Forbes State Forest.

I love this spot.  You walk along a trail flanked by deep woods and then... all of a sudden... the horizon opens up and there's a dock that goes out into a clearing of topaz-colored grasses, dotted with crimson islands.  The "islands" are actually clusters of carnivorous pitcher plants.  They were planted over fifty years ago by the botanical society that I belong to.  They thrive in a place where little else does.

While I was there enjoying the quiet, taking pictures and brushing up on my plant identifications, I picked some giant cranberries.  I was lucky that there were some left.  Usually the bog gets picked clean this time of year.

When I got back to the car, it was still light out and I wasn't ready to go home yet.  I stopped at the old Airglow Observatory.  I read somewhere that it was built in the 1960's to study upper atmospheric gases and now is used from time to time by astronomy students at the University of Pittsburgh.  Right now it is a being used by honey bees.  They were pouring out of the walls.

I went down the road a piece and hiked out to Beams Rock.  At one time, water rushed through this area, carving the stone cliff and creating these rock formations that look like Chinese Scholar rocks.  There are deep fissures here that you can walk between and steep, 50 foot drops.  I was still wearing my rubber boots, so I made sure to be extra careful.  Some of the "paths" are overgrown with rhododendron roots and the footings here can sometimes be precarious with loosely attached moss.  It's worth it though.  This place feels very old and I could feel a shiver run down my spine as I stood in the shadows of this great, natural monument.

I don't often get much time to myself.  Even when I'm home, there's the cell phone or the computer and it's hard to get away from the connectivity.  It was such a pleasure to go out on these little excursions on my birthday to reflect not only on my own life, but on the world and its beauty.  It was good to have these moments just for myself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy B-day! Belatedly. Just catching up. Your photos are the best. Keep celebrating you!