A few days ago, I hiked to the site of the last known Susquehannock Indian tribe village, the site of which is now part of the Native Lands York County Park. Located near Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, history and nature converge. The site is on top of the hill behind the Zimmerman Center (former Dritt Mansion) at Long Level. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Byrd Leibhart site, the National Park Service recognizes it as worthy of nomination for National Historic Landmark status—America’s highest heritage honor. Although it’s a peaceful scene today, this land has seen much controversy, including battles for possession between the Seneca and the Susquehannock.
Everyone that knows me knows that I’m sort of a history hunter. I have a great interest in historical landmarks/places, especially those of the abandoned kind or the places now known as ghost towns. Being a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, I decided to dig deeper into the history of Safe Harbor. Firstly, I’ll take you through some of the history of how Safe Harbor became what it is today, and then I will lead you through a nature trail that allows you to revisit what was once the original Safe Harbor Village that was devastated and destroyed by the 1904 ice flood.
If you visit Safe Harbor Dam today, you will see this sign. It commemorates the Conestoga Navigation Company and the bold venture of turning Lancaster into a port city. Its ambitious goal was to give Lancaster direct access to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other ports. Never mind the fact that Lancaster is 102 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
Earlier this week I walked the Northwest River Trail between Columbia and Chickies Rock. The Northwest Lancaster County River Trail follows the route of the historic Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, tracing the Susquehanna River northwest from Columbia to Falmouth. While the majority of the trail is paved, the northern segment from Bainbridge to Falmouth is largely undeveloped and best suited for walking, hiking, or mountain biking. The route now contains a trove of historic iron furnaces and building ruins, a canal lock, sections of the original towpath and canal bed, and an abandoned railroad tunnel.
Located between the boroughs of Columbia and Marietta is Chickies Rock. At over 422 acres, it is the county’s second-largest regional park. Its most notable feature is the massive outcropping of quartzite rock towering 200 feet above the river. The vista offers impressive views of York County, the borough of Marietta, and farmlands of northwestern Lancaster County.
Bike paths and walking trails now lead visitors to the sites of interest in Chickies Rock County Park. But one thing seems to run through its long history, unbidden and dark: the supernatural. Locals will agree that the view from Chickies Rock is indeed spectacular and that the history and geology of the site are interesting. But along with the beauty, science, and history are tales that encompass the mysterious: legends of curses, ghosts and strange monsters.
It’s been a little while since I’ve uploaded any new hiking blogs. I haven’t been able to get out as much after being diagnosed with a Chronic Illness that’s known to cause widespread pain. As time passes, I am slowly learning my new physical abilities and limitations. I needed a trail that wasn’t too strenuous, and one that could help me build back my physical strength. The local Lake Grubb Nature Park trail is perfect for that. It’s a 1.3-mile loop circling Lake Grubb. There are a few inclines, but nothing too steep. This trail is perfect to get me back out there. I know it’ll take time to get back to my previous physical capabilities. It’ll just take a lot of work and patience on my part.
This amazing place I want to show you is called the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a unique area located about 30 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles.
This is a hike where the payoff comes with every step you take, not just in a hero view from a summit perch. The ocean side trails of Rancho Palos Verdes keep the dramatic Pacific in sight—and its breezes on your skin—all along the 5 miles of clearly marked paths of the Ocean Trails Reserve. They take you from the sand on the shore to a balcony view of the blue horizon.
There’s plenty of hiking trails around Los Angeles, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the wilderness and hike places such as Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. It’s a really interesting place that not many people know about, and it’s not really explored. There’s no end to the amazing amount of art displayed. Their collection includes the complete replicas of Michelangelo statues, dozens of beautiful stained glass windows, including two that have absurd multi-media presentations, a mosaic of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and a giant bronze statue of George Washington.
Originally developed in the early 1900s, it quickly became one of the most progressive cemeteries of its day – permanently changing the business aspects of American cemeteries through its example. Fate brought a man named Hubert Eaton to become its president in 1916. Eaton’s vision, and the fact that Forest Lawn has continued to hold firm to Eaton’s famous Builder’s Creed, has turned the concept of a cemetery from that of crumbling tombstones to a true “garden” of peace.
Chiquito Falls, named after former ranger Kenneth Munhall’s horse, was an ideal opportunity to see a seasonal waterfall, however, in recent years the falls have all but dried up. Now, what remains is the opportunity to rock climb and see plenty of Great Basin Fence Lizards along the way. Despite the water shortage, the 9-mile out and back hike to Chiquito Falls is still worth exploring for its beautiful scenery and grueling workout.
Originally known as Laguna Grande by early Spanish explorers, Lake Elsinore has a rich history in the region, used as a rest stop to camp and water animals for trappers, prospectors of the Gold Rush, and for the great explorer of the Wild West, John Charles Frémont.
The Griffith Park Zoo was originally opened in 1912, amusingly built on the former location of Griffith J. Griffith’s old ostrich farm. It was opened with 15 animals, and due to lack of funding; it opened without any cages, simply stockades to keep the animals in, which were inadequate for several of the species, kept on site.
Stories claim that the history of the zoo was rocky, and it was always struggling. For example, in 1916, the zoo was apparently leaking sewage into the L.A. River, and later during World War I, a meat shortage made it hard to properly care for the animals, forcing the zoo to substitute horse meat for beef, leading to the deaths of many of the meat eating animals, particularly the big cats. Luckily the zoo was free which kept visitors coming.