Saturday, July 6, 2013

Walking Through History in Hell's Hollow

Hell's Hollow Trail is a beautiful walk following Hell's Run to a waterfall. It is one of the easiest trails in McConnell's Mill State Park and I highly recommend it. The path is wide and flat and the falls are only a half mile from the parking area, so the walk is just one mile round trip. We joined a guided walk this morning to learn a little more about the history of this area.
Our guide for the walk. 

This area is rich in iron ore, limestone, wood, and water. Used together, these four substances shaped the history of this area. This area still supports many quarries and mines and Hell's Run at one time supported many iron smelters and lime kilns. We also learned about charcoal making and how people used the water to power large bellows in the smelters and kilns. Along the path we found pieces of slag left from the smelter process.

I didn't take a picture of the lime kiln this trip - but here is one from October.

The search for crawdads

The Hell's Hollow trail ends at a lime kiln that is built into the side of a small cliff. At that point a set of wooden stairs leads past the base of the kiln and down to the waterfall. The creek is gorgeous, with a limestone bottom and lots of little waterfalls. Once the guided portion of the walk had concluded we chose to remain at the waterfall for some additional exploration.
FRitW found this tiny, tiny newt. I don't know how he spotted it!!

MT couldn't resist taking his new waterproof boots to the limit! We tried to tell him that they are only waterproof if water doesn't go over the tops, but he loved getting wet!

We came last October and found frogs, crawdads, and snakes. This time we had waterproof boots! Oh yes! This was much more fun - October saw us with a long drive back to the hotel in wet clothes and shoes, and it was cold and miserable. Today, dry feet, a short drive, and beautiful warm weather was a much better way to end the walk! 

Dad brought us up to the rock ledge. There was water dripping off the edge, like a light rainfall.

Heading back down to the creek from the ledge.
Trees growing out from the top of the ledge.

Maggie ended up on the top of the waterfall.

This time around we found a tiny newt, a frog, and several crawdads. We climbed up to a rock ledge overhang and then to the top of the waterfall where we backtracked along the creek instead of sticking to the trail. 


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