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MConnells Mill State Park lies in the Western part of Pennsylvania, not far from Slippery Rock. The national landmark site created by a glacial event is a unique location that features a scenic gorge, historic grist mill, hanging waterfalls, and a white water creek. I have spent a lot of time exploring and photographing in this area of the park and in a glacial gorge that formed Muddy Creek. Inside the gorge, and along Slippery Rock Creek and Muddy Creek, is a rugged landscape that reminds me a lot of parts of North Carolina or even Oregon. Native trees, moss and lichen covered rocks, and palatial ferns all combine to produce a varied and ever interesting location for making images.
The image above is one I refer to as Lower Kildoo and is a small cascade that only comes to life when there is some significant rain. The day this image was made it had been raining for a day and continued throughout the morning as I was shooting. Though the conditions were difficult, they were nonetheless perfect for photographing waterfalls. Occasional thinning in the clouds provided some beautiful light within the forest. This soft light really came into play when I made my way up to Upper Kildoo Falls (below). The forest surrounding the double falls seemingly glowed in the warm sunlight.
Breakneck Falls (the two images below), is the third of the set of falls along the Slippery Rock Creek Trail. Its access from the trail is not easy, nor is the access from the top. Breakneck requires a bit of commitment to photograph. I made the down climb from Breakneck Bridge which is a sobering feat. Once in the gorge the difficulties continue as nothing is level as is evidence by the two images. The jumbled compression of rock is astounding. In the morning the light that enters this section of the falls is filtered by the forest above. Openings within the canopy allow light to shoot downward like spotlights, illuminating sections of the rocks and falls.
Alpha Falls (below), is one of the streams that emptied from Lake Watts as the glacier receded. Like the streams that flow over Kildoo Falls and Breakneck Falls, they enter the Slippery Rock Gorge area as hanging waterfalls. Alpha Falls is easy to access but it is one that I find somewhat difficult to grasp. The area is tight and when flowing throws spray and mist everywhere. But a little patience can deliver some beautiful images.
All of the waterfalls in McConnells Mill flow into Slippery Rock Creek (below). The creek flows through a deep gorge cut into layers of bedrock. The sides of the gorge consist of fallen blocks of Homewood Sandstone which can be seen in many of the images in this post. It is the combination of this geology coupled with the forest and creek that make this location so beautiful. The 6.2 mile long Slippery Rock Gorge Trail parallels Slippery Rock Creek and provides access to many of the waterfalls and stream side locations. In addition the park features a beautiful, historic grist mill built in 1868. One of the first rolling mills in the country, the mill processed corn, oats, and wheat for local farmers.
Seasonal changes, the forested landscape, historic architecture, and the ever changing flow of water along the creek and from the various waterfalls all contribute to a place of immense beauty and photographic interest. It is a place I would encourage everyone visit. Thanks for stopping by today. RHC