The best way to appreciate nature is to get out into it. I’ve said similar stuff before, in an unsuccessful bid to get the wife to let me buy an Argo mini-tank. Still, the words are true, and when we set off on our Chicago-to-New England road trip earlier this month, we were determined to see some nature along the way, with detours off of Pennsylvania’s historic Route 6 that included a drive through the Allegheny Forest and a visit to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.
Like many of you, probably, I didn’t even know Pennsylvania had a canyon, grand or otherwise, until we stopped at the PA visitor center on I80 as we crossed the border. The “tourist trap” brochure stand talked it up, though, and we figured it wouldn’t be too far out of our way, so off we went.
Getting to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon means going to the Leonard Harrison State Park, which is actually a nice place. We found a campground, a small gift shop, an absolutely incredible snack stand that featured a number of Pennsylvania maple-themed products. Maple coffee. Maple syrup funnel cakes. Maple hot dogs.
Seriously. Maple hot dogs. They are better than you can possibly imagine.
There was a canyon, also – and these pictures lie. The canyon is impossibly giant, and the only way you can get some sense of scale is to realize that the thick, wooden guardrails are at least 4′ high, and that that’s a fairly wide dirt road down there, easily big enough for logging trucks.
The state park also offered a number of hiking trails that could take you down into the canyon, but approaching clouds gave us the impression that we should stick near the car. So, rather than venture off on the longer trails, we just started exploring. That’s when we saw some really beautiful trees with colorful, early fall leaves.
We also found this super-creepy thing …
… so, yeah. Time to go.
On the drive out, it started raining – and that just got me thinking even more about how terribly sad it was. How sad that the crooked oil and gas companies have conned millions of bone-headed Americans into supporting fracking in PA and the surrounding national and state forests, despite the overwhelming evidence of the permanent damage the process causes. Here’s hoping more people get out places like the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon while they’re still there, and maybe stab an oil-man in the neck the next time they meet one.
Original content from Gas 2.