The Greenway TrailPosted: January 22, 2007 Filed under: hiking, nature, sabbatical, travel 3 Comments
On Thursday M took off from work and we took a little daytrip to Maryland to hike on the Greenway Trail and to see the birds at the Conowingo Dam. We didn’t have the best of weather. It was cloudy and gray, a very gloomy day. The temperature stayed pretty steady, around 33-34 degrees (F). There was rain, possibly snow, and lots of wind in the forecast for the rest of the weekend. As it turned out, the gray and gloomy day was our best choice. The sun did come out on Friday and Saturday, but the wind was wicked, whistling and whipping so that the cold slices right through you. So, the gloomy day really was our best choice.
We did our hiking on the portion of the Greenway Trail that starts at the Susquehanna State Park. Had the weather been nicer, we’d have hiked from there to the dam (2.7 miles one way). About a mile into our hike we decided it was a little too chilly so we turned around and then drove up to the dam.
The hike starts near the Stafford flint furnace, a portion of which is still standing (pictured below). The best description I could find of the trail is at a mountain biking website. You can read the description here if you’re interested in more details.
Remains of the Stafford flint furnace. Stafford was once a thriving town and this is pretty much all that’s left of it. In the 1740’s, George Rock built an iron works (Rock Forge). Other furnaces, forges, mills, and industries popped up soon after. The population of the town fluctuated based on the rise and fall of the industries. At one point the town was prosperous enough to have a school and post office. Most of the town was destroyed by an ice gorge in 1904.
White flint was quarried nearby. The flint was layered into the furnace, alternating with wood, and set on fire. The heat dried out the water in the flint, causing it to crack into large pebbles. The pebbles were then ground into a powder. The powder was sent by canal to Trenton, New Jersey and used in porcelainizing pots and pans and in porcelain china.
The trail, at least on the portion we were on, is fairly flat and wide. Easy hiking. Some of it runs along an old railway grade.
The creek is almost frozen over. Gives you some idea of how cold it was out there.
This is an amazing tree. I took a photo of M standing near the bottom to give some perspective on just how big it is.
Close up of the bottom of the tree. It looks a lot like camouflage, doesn’t it?
The Susquehanna River. It was running pretty high and fast.
Remains of an old stone wall near the state park.
I’ll post the photos from the Conowingo Dam tomorrow. Or sometime soon.
(All photos by Robin. 2007)