Rusty’s Weekly Recap 1.29.2017
New for 2017, this weekly recap highlights some of the photography-related road trips I took and projects I worked on the prior week.
As always, click on the photos and/or videos to view in full screen mode.
This was a week of firsts for me, as I visited and photographed dozens of new-to-me waterfalls, state parks, and forests.
On Monday I drove to Brookville, PA to meet up with fellow photographer and Jefferson County resident Anthony Thomas of Mountain Man Photography. I was looking to familiarize myself with some of the sights of northwestern PA, and in my opinion there is no better way to do that than with the help of a local. Conditions were exceptional (for waterfall photography in particular), and man did we cover some territory!
We started out at Clear Creek State Park in Jefferson County, photographing the spillway there under light rain.
Next we crossed over the Clarion River into the Clear Creek State Forest, where we stopped to shoot Church Run Falls, a small waterfall on a tributary of the Clarion River.
We finished up day one with a trip to Forest County and the Allegheny National Forest. Here we visited Logan Falls, one I've been wanting to get to for some time now. The scene here was just outstanding.
After grabbing the obligatory "selfie" with Anthony at the falls, we headed back to Brookville, a successful first day in the books.
Day 2 of the road trip found us north-bound to Venango County, Our first stop was Freedom Falls, a picturesque waterfall in a historic setting.
Here's a downstream view of Freedom Falls - you can see Anthony in the foreground, to give you a sense of scale.
Maybe a hundred yards downstream from Freedom Falls is Rockland Furnace, an old iron furnace built in 1832. Of course I had to get a selfie in front of it.
I was able to crawl inside the furnace and get a shot up through the chimney, which stands approximately 25 feet tall.
Downstream from Freedom Falls and Rockland Furnace is the Rockland Tunnel, an old railroad tunnel built in 1915 and now part of the Allegheny River Trail (a bike/hiking path). It's approximately a half-mile end-to-end, and unlit. We did not hike all the way through, but I did get a few shots of it from inside as well as outside.
Heading out from the Rockland Tunnel, we made the short drive to Potter Fall. This one is on posted, private property but we stopped at the nearby farmhouse and got the permission of the landowner to photograph the falls. He said he'd had recent problems with folks disposing of trash around the falls (including someone burning an about-to-be-repossessed car), thus the posted status.
After seeing this waterfall in person for the first time, I was EXTREMELY happy we were able to photograph it on this day (thanks Mr. Potter!). The flow was extraordinary and the setting amongst the hemlocks is striking.
Departing Potter Falls, we continued north to Oil City and nearby Oil Creek State Park. Several waterfalls are listed on the park map, but having a limited amount of daylight left and still one more waterfall to hit back near Clarion, we opted to check out Miller Falls along Miller Run.
The two small waterfalls along Miller Run that we encountered were no show-stoppers like the two we had already photographed that day, but still it was a scenic hike and another state park under my belt.
Our last stop on day two was Rapp Run Falls, located on State Game Lands property just outside of Clarion, PA. Hard to believe a setting like this exists so close to a college town, but it does. A remarkable spot worth visiting if you are in the area.
Day three of my road trip found me taking the LONG way back to State College, via Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County, PA. The drive up to Kinzua Bridge from Brookville was exceptional, and I had to pull over along Route 66 in the Allegeheny National Forest to capture this wintry scene.
The view into the ANF was every bit as magnificent.
I just HAD to stop and photograph this old church along the road, somewhere in Forest County.
Finally reaching the town of Mt. Jewett in McKean County, I crossed the railroad tracks into Kinzua Bridge State Park, stopping on the now-defunct tracks to take a photo.
The reason the tracks are "now-defunct" is that in 2003 an F1 tornado ripped through the bridge (originally built in 1882). The current Kinzua Bridge Skywalk was built on the remnants of the bridge and opened in 2011.
The Kinzua Creek Trail allows you to hike to the bottom of the gorge and look at the wreckage of what was once the "eighth wonder of the world".
Hiking back up the trail, I stopped to get this shot through the still-standing trestles that support the Skywalk, which once supported the 301 feet tall, 2052 feet long railroad bridge (making it simultaneously the world's tallest and longest railroad bridge for a time).
Leaving Kinzua Bridge State Park, I made my way down through Elk and Cameron counties, stopping off at Stevenson Dam in Sinnemahoning State Park to photograph the marvelous scene there. I finally made it home to State College around 4 pm, tired but extremely satisfied.
I took Thursday off from photography to get some household chores done and errands run, but was back at it again on Friday morning. One of my goals for this year is to explore as many nooks and crannies of the Quehanna Wild Area as possible. Friday found me hiking up Big Springs Run, a tributary of Wykoff Run in the Cameron County portion of the Wild Area. No big waterfalls to report, but plenty of cascades to make for a terrific and strenuous hike.
Saturday I took my daughter Hailee along with me to explore yet another tributary of Wykoff Run. We made a side trip into Potter County so I could show her the new Visitors Center at Sinnemahoning State Park.
Back-tracking into Cameron County, we parked along Wykoff Run Road at the White Oak Draft pull-off and hiked up the stream. There is no official trail along this one, but should be, as the scenery is dazzling.
As with Big Spring Run the day before, no large waterfalls were encountered. However, the sheer number of cascades and large boulders along the way make it a remarkable hike.
All in all, it was a superb week on the back roads and trails of Pennsylvania.
And just in case you STILL haven't had enough waterfalls for one week, I've attached a link below to some video footage I shot at a few of the NWPA waterfalls I visited earlier in the week. Enjoy!