May 10, 2009 Trip Log
I wanted to photograph many of Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania's features with spring foliage.
Intervals of strong gusty winds did give me some hesitation about visiting the park today as winds tend to blur forested scenes. The atmosphere included haze and some fast moving clouds with occasional clear skies.
I didn't plan any major hikes today as I just really wanted to skim the park and get a nice variation of spring pictures. I arrived about noon and of course made my first stop at Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania's day use area that includes observation decks for viewing the Ohiopyle Falls.Ohiopyle Falls, I knew I wouldn't use any of them and the time of day (noon) didn't help matters. The lower observation deck was wet with mist from the Ohiopyle Falls.
Pennsylvania) found in the park that are washed down river from more warmer southern states. There I found some mushrooms that I photographed before following the river's shore line north.
Youghiogheny River was exceedingly rough today white enormous rapids gushing over what later in the summer will be exposed rocks. I took several pictures of the river along with the fresh green forest over on Ferncliff Peninsula as I walked toward the bridge for the Youghiogheny River Trail and Ohiopyle.
Cucumber Run would be a nice leisurely place to relax after a long drive. It was. Birds, the sound of water, and the rustic peacefulness of the place made my sandwich taste better than it otherwise would have. I liked a one lane bridge and snapped a picture of it and the sign marking the picnic area before heading on down stream to Cucumber Falls.
The near noon light would ensure the waterfall would be well lit as it tumbles into the dark Cucumber Run ravine. I parked my car and walked down the path to the high observation point for Cucumber Falls, where I found a boisterous wall of white water with an almost black background as the ravine walls were in dark shade.Cucumber Falls' precipice where I took a couple pictures with an emphasis on the waterfall's starting point. Unfortunately, a large tree branch that must have washed downstream during the winter made a few of those pictures appear busier than I would have liked.
I backtracked back to the observation point and walked down the natural stairs into the deep ravine that was filled with a cold refreshing mist from the waterfall and walked towards it over a natural mound and some large rocks and snapped some more pictures I figured I wouldn't use for the contrast of brightness verse darkness was too much to make a compelling picture.
I arrived at the mouth of Cucumber Run with the discovery that the Youghiogheny River had swallowed up some of my favorite rocks to take pictures from of Laurel Ridge and the gorge, thus I had to climb around some thick vegetation in an attempt to get the same perspectives.Ferncliff Peninsula. I also took one up stream but it was difficult to take a wide shot with all of the plants surrounding me. Some butterflies were fluttering all over the place, but I wasn't able to get any close ups of them as they mostly rested on the sandy soil that forms a beach like quality here.
I followed Meadow Run Trail a short ways to get to some large rocks along the river and took a few more pictures before heading back towards Cucumber Falls. About 30 years downstream of the falls, I made an attempt to cross the rock boulders and logs along the ravine floor without getting wet in an attempt to get to the other side for some shots of the falls. About halfway across, two large rocks with an opening right before the waterfall's bottom caught my eye.
Wild Geranium were all along the trail. I photographed them and some vertical cones of small flowers (that I haven't identified yet) before heading up the hill where I discovered the Great Gorge Trail that I followed to return to the car.
Tharp Knob Overlook where I discovered the park had recently mowed the vegetation below it completely down offering the best view I had seen there in quite sometime leaving only the hazy conditions a problem to be dealt with. Youghiogheny gorge was photographed with spring foliage from many different angles and perspectives before I noticed some Cherry Tree blossoms that I also photographed. The sweet aroma of them and other flowering plants was very inviting at the beginning of Kentuck Trail. In hindsight I should have followed that trail for it contains a lot of shrubs and open meadows along it that would have featured plenty of spring blossoms.
Meadow Run Natural Waterslides where I found Meadow Run to also be overflowing its banks. At this point most of the sky turned cloudy and that was well welcomed as it would level some of harsh contrast between the stream and its dark cavernous shoreline rocks and Rhododendrons. Meadow Run while I walked down to the bottom of the natural waterslides to get a perspective looking up at the popular feature. The channel of water that is used to slide down is spilling over to flood the stone banks, and I found the white frothy water difficult to expose properly while including the dark shoreline. For each picture I took two shots, one exposed for the water and the other for the shoreline and later merged them together into one picture.
Meadow Run Trail towards the Youghiogheny River where (as I guessed) most of the rock lined shore was now completely under water as rapids instead. Following what was left of the trail I came to a spot where I photographed a waterfall that is normally dry along with Ferncliff Peninsula as a back drop. Meadow Run Natural Waterslides.
I took a few more pictures of Meadow Run before finally heading on home.