Tarzan trees, enticing turquoise-hued waters, wild rock formations, an immensity of wildlife friends, powerful rapids, an abundance of colorful mushrooms, blankets of green, flowering vegetation, vibrant earth energy, soft sands, fields of bluebells, and an infinity of natural mysteries - all of the reasons that my soul and my heart will always gravitate toward this mystical oasis.
This hidden paradise of wonders is so unique compared to the surrounding natural areas located near by. As someone who grew up in both Maryland and Pennsylvania, I was pleasantly surprised, and quite taken by this place when I discovered it. I've been hiking this gorge for nearly eight years, and every time I make the trip, I am always overcome with intense curiosity, a sense of earthly magic, and a feeling of utter peace.
This place quickly became my escape from the ever-changing chaos of life and adulthood. I will be the first to tell you that I absolutely hated growing up in Pennsylvania and Maryland. From the time I could walk, I've had an undying thirst for adventure and travel. I felt like both of these places didn't offer anything for me; I felt like that if I stayed I would never cultivate and manifest the life I so desperately wanted for myself. I felt like an outsider, the black sheep if you will. All of the free time I had, I would spend doing all things outdoors; hiking, kayaking, cliff diving, spelunking, rock climbing, you name it - I certainly did it. Mother Nature has always had a way soothing and grounding me, but I could never find that ultimate satisfaction in these areas until I discovered this enchanting forest.
That's thing about adventure and travel - you almost always find yourself in the most unexpected of ways. This gorge helped me do just that when I wasn't in the right circumstances to go on a road trip, to buy that plane ticket, to drive eight hours away to go explore, to do the things I yearned for. I am constantly consumed by wanderlust, (always have been, and undoubtedly will always be lol), and in the times that I couldn't quench it, I escaped to this corner of the Earth.
This tiny piece of Mama Earth is truly a hiker's and kayaker's paradise. With miles and miles of trail and creek, you will find yourself encased in the bold beauty of this natural treasure. Every twist and turn of the the trail reveals more and more of the jaw-dropping landscape you're immersed in. Even when the seasons change, you will always find yourself totally intrigued with the environment around you. The shifts in the energies throughout the spring, summer, winter, and fall is incredibly diverse, only further enhancing the magic of this East Coast jungle.
Some of the things I've grown to be quite accustomed to during my history of visits include:
Climbing the beloved Tarzan tree that greets you on the beginning of the Trail. This tree has a way of making you feel so loved, and so in awe of nature's comforting embrace.
Observing and attempting to identify the various mushroom species that cover the grounds of the forest. They are so vibrant it almost appears as if the ground is saturated in rainbows.
Submerging myself in the crisp, cool, crystal waters from February to October to further connect with the element of water. Doing this submersions during the cooler months and water temperatures is linked to significant health benefits!
Cliff-jumping off of a set of gnarly rock formations further down the trail, then snorkeling and swimming with the incredible fish that inhabit the creek.
Quietly hiking for miles on the trail in hopes of spotting some of the Earth's finest species, including minks, whitetail deer, bald eagles, black snakes, Redtail hawks, leopard frogs, ducks, herons, racoons, and so many more! (so far, I've observed all of the animals listed!)
Entering the water where the waterfalls begin, in order to dip behind the farthest one and peer out through it. It is seriously insane to see!
Kayaking and tubing the creek in hopes of remaining balanced, even through the mini waterfalls and rapids.
Camping in my favorite areas that sit right above the moving ever-moving water; the tranquil sounds are therapeutic to all aspects of the soul.
Bringing my best pal, (my dog, Iverson), along for a long day of fun and reconnection.
Meditating in my favorite rest area that overlooks the saturated pool of gorgeous waters and waterfalls.
To say I feel fortunate and divinely gifted to have been called to this place is a vast understatement. While I won't miss much about these areas, I will forever miss the gorge. I have this part of the planet to thank for my longevity, my motivation, my gratitude, my reminder of hope, and my life of destined adventure.