The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Rockland PA’

Allegheny River Trail: Emlenton to Rockland

We departed our home in Warren PA at 7:30 am en route Emlenton PA and the Allegheny River Trail.   We arrived on Main Street in Emlenton at 9:05 am.   We followed signs to the Allegheny River Trail.  Road signs pointed us onto the bike trail.  Bob was hesitant to drive on the bike trail.  I encouraged him to do so, and we came upon a parking area quickly.  The Allegheny River Trail is 28.2 miles of flat, smooth, asphalt surface from Emlenton to Franklin.  We chose to bicycle only a portion of the trail, from Emlenton to Rockland Tunnel and back. 

The beginning of the trail is bordered by a white fence for a short time.

Soon the trail is between the Allegheny River and a wooded hillside.

Seen from the trail

Note the 1917 date on the tunnel.

Dotter Access Area

Dotter Access Area. There are beautiful views of the river along the trail. This is one such view.

Dotter Access Area seen from the trail

Rockland Tunnel

The 2,868-foot Rockland Tunnel is pitch black.  Reflectors mark the trail edges and center.  We had strong flashlights mounted on our bicycles.  Bob rode through the tunnel; I didn’t.  Almost as soon as I entered the tunnel, I began to feel claustrophobic.  My arms and legs tensed up, and my balance felt off.   I stopped and turned my bicycle around.  As soon as I could see the light at the tunnel entrance, I began to feel better. 

I walked inside Rockland Tunnel a little ways to get this picture.

Bob has returned from riding through Rockland Tunnel.

We stopped at this bench for a short rest, while on our way back to the Emlenton trail head.

We enjoyed this view, while sitting on the bench.

I took this picture facing away from the bench.

I rode 11.12 miles round trip.  Bob rode a little more than me because he rode through the tunnel and back.  It was 11:37 am, when we completed our ride.

It was an excellent day for a bicycle ride.  It was overcast, and the temperature stayed in the upper 50s to lower 60s.

We plan to ride more of the Allegheny River Trail later this year.

Freedom Falls

Yesterday, Bob and I went for a drive approximately 1 1/2 hours southwest of where we live.  Our destination was a waterfall called Freedom Falls.  Before you continue to read this blog post, please take a moment to go back in time to another day that Bob and I went on a day trip to Freedom Falls.  You will see in the bottom three photographs of the February 2012 blog post that Bob and I didn’t get too close to the falls.  When we visited Freedom Falls last year, arthroscopic surgery to repair two torn meniscus had not yet been performed on my knee.  I was surprised that I managed to get down to the creek and back up the hill!   During yesterday’s visit to Freedom Falls, I made it a lot closer to the falls!

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I did a much better job photographing the waterfall during yesterday’s visit than I did a year ago.  I can thank a photography friend whom I met on Facebook for some of my improved photography.

Bob and I met my Facebook photography friend, Tim, at Freedom Falls.  Tim introduced me to the world of HDR photography.  Each of the photographs shown above were processed from three images.  One image was properly exposed; one image was underexposed by 2 stops; and one image was overexposed by 2 stops.  I used a program called Photomatix, a program that Tim suggested, to merge the three images into one.

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Tim took this photograph of the three of us.

I captured a couple pictures of Tim in action.

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Bob took this photograph of Tim and me.

It wasn’t the best time of the day for photographing at Freedom Falls.  We arrived there in the early afternoon.  The lighting was harsh.  There were lots of shadows and the waterfall was bathed in sunlight.  The lighting is better in the early evening.   The best part of the visit was meeting Tim and chatting with him.

By the way, if you have the opportunity, check out Tim’s Facebook photography page.   I am certain that you will enjoy his collection of photographs.

Kennerdell Scenic Overlook

Bob and I went on a shopping excursion a couple hours drive from our house. After completing our shopping and dinner at Bob Evans, we decided to check out the Kennerdell Scenic Overlook. According to a sign we passed on the way to the shopping mall, the overlook was only 10 miles away.

The Kennerdell Scenic Overlook is located in the town of Rockland, within Venango County, Pennsylvania.  From the overlook one looks down upon the winding Allegheny River.  I am so happy that we made that 20-mile round trip drive to the Kennerdell Scenic Overlook.    Doesn’t the vista look beautiful with the setting sun shining on it?

Day Trip to Freedom Falls

I learned about Freedom Falls in May last year when we visited Bob’s sister and her husband while they were vacationing in Kennerdell, PA. We didn’t have time to visit the falls during that trip. In the meantime I have read about and seen photographs of Freedom Falls and other points of interest in the area. I awaited the opportunity for a day trip to the falls. That opportunity presented itself yesterday! Bob and I went on a day trip to Freedom Falls. You wouldn’t find us anywhere near Freedom Falls on a usual early February day in Pennsylvania. The snow and ice would have kept us away from the remote area in which the falls are located. We have enjoyed a very mild Winter here in Pennsylvania. Neither snow nor ice hampered our visit to the falls. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the path through the woods to the falls was relatively dry too!

Freedom Falls is located on Schull Run about 70 miles southeast of our hometown of Warren, PA.

Freedom Falls is one of the most beautiful places that I have visited in Pennsylvania.

Freedom Falls

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Before walking down to Freedom Falls, we followed Rockland Station Road to its end. Rockland Station Road ends at the Allegheny River. To the left of the road there is a small parking lot. We parked there and walked the short distance to Rockland Tunnel.

Rockland Tunnel

According to a placard at Rockland Tunnel, the Allegheny Valley Railroad was extended into the Oil Region of Venango County in 1867-1868 to transport “black gold” to the world. The railroad followed the river around the Woodhill Mountain. The Woodhill loop was plagued with landslides, ice jams and sharp turns. In 1913 this 2,868 foot hole was cut through the mountain to speed up the train trips from Pittsburgh to Buffalo. The dangerous task of cutting a hole through the mountain was accomplished by men working in two shifts, six days a week, 10-12 hours a day, for 17 cents an hour.

We walked into the tunnel only a short way.
It got dark fast!

I was happy to turn around and walk back out of the tunnel!

We drove a short distance back up Rockland Station Road and parked next to a very large rock. This rock is just above Freedom Falls. There are steep slopes and gradual slopes leading you to the falls. At first I saw only the steep slopes and didn’t think I would be able to get close to the falls. I am not able to walk as well as I did prior to slipping on ice in early 2008. That accident resulted in a torn meniscus in my right knee. The first photograph of the falls that I show in this blog post was taken at the top of a steep slope. A short time later we did locate a trail that led us down to the falls in a more gradual slope. That trail took us by the well-preserved Rockland Furnace.

Rockland Iron Furnace

Bob at Rockland Iron Furnace

The Rockland Furnace is located just downstream from Freedom Falls.

Freedom Falls

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