Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Worlds End

I spent many, many days in Central Pennsylvania growing up. A several-day-long trip, without parents, to my grandparents was something of a tradition. When I got to be a little older than my son is now, my brother, cousin, and I wandered around the mountains near Gram and Pap's home. They lived in the eastern end of Nittany Valley.

Google Map image of Nittany Valley's East end.
This was the Central PA that I knew. It was hard for me to imagine any other area of Central PA that was as splendid as that little area. And it still saddens me that the days of looking out at that valley from the picture window in Gram and Pap's home are more than two decades behind me.

Again, I almost scoffed at other areas of Central PA. How could they possibly be as lovely. But as I've traveled in the state, I've become familiar with some of those other valleys. This weekend, I made it to World's End State Park, where the Loyalsock Creek cuts through a region known as the endless mountains, creating a valley that is stunning in its ruggedness and beauty.

Sunset at High Knob Vista

Double Run Creek

Double Run Creek

A waterfall along Double Run Creek

Rock formations along the crest near Loyalsock Vista

Man's attempt to tame nature: a marked portion of the Canyon Vista Trail

High Knob Overlook at not-quite sunset
So, maybe there are areas of Central PA more lovely than Nittany Valley.

When I think of my fondness for East End Nittany Valley, a fondness that borders on parochialism, and then contrast it with what I saw in Sullivan County this weekend, I cannot help but recall the words from the hymn "This is My Song." In particular, I think of the passage copied below.

I'm nearing the end of a month where I've been exploring the state with my family. We've so far been to Elizabethtown, Pittsburgh, Fallingwater, Mt. Davis, and Worlds End. Tomorrow, Philadelphia. This weekend might see us visiting Altoona. It's been a set of adventures that make the summer worthwhile.

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