There was a nip in the air, giving away a subtle sign that Fall had begun. Brown dried leaves and yellow-green walnut fruit lay scattered on paved roads, along the trail that ran through Rockwood, Bringhurst Woods, and Bellevue Park. Occasionally, we hopscotched to avoid horse manure, and paused in front of William duPont’s elegant Bellevue Hall to click a picture or two. The five-mile walk, peppered with laughter and conversations, lasted for over two hours.
The Brandywine creek lay still, tired after bearing the brunt of previous night’s downpour. The rain had turned the mud soft, on which our walking sticks sank, like candles on a cake. Every time we pushed a shrub out of the way, it sprayed drops of cool water on us. We didn’t mind; we continued walking on the steep slopes of the Rocky Run Trail in Brandywine Creek State Park, with no end in sight. Rows and rows of tall trees held hands to form a sort of tunnel, through which only slivers of sunlight managed to reach the ground. Loose rocks and coiled roots lay everywhere, and from between them emerged excited toads and calm centipedes. Small flying bugs hovered around our faces, fighting for our attention, even as we tried to balance ourselves on shapeless stones, to cross to the other side of a flowing stream. Three miles and two hours later, we walked out of the woods, on to the neat paved roads. It was easier to walk now… but we missed our little toads and centipedes already.
At White Clay Creek State Park, we walked in a single file for five miles. Shrubs rose on either side of the slim trail, some reaching our height, some towering over us. Daisies, shamrocks, and anonymous wildflowers popped their heads out from between the curtain of greenery. We slowed down, paused to see butterflies land softly on the petals. When they took flight, we fastened our steps. Our muddy trail was punctuated with puddles of water and fallen logs. We walked over small bridges, with thin creeks running jauntily below them; stopped to pick up a hawk’s lone feather from the ground; and sat on giant trunks to sip water. Around us the air smelled of wet soil, and somewhere far, the sound of stream synced with the call of birds.
A flock of chocolate brown geese trundle along the rolling hills of Carousel Park. A row of goslings follow the adults in obeisance. The sun shimmers on their fur, giving them a golden glow. Tempted, we go closer, but are chased away by the strong, vigilant adult geese. We let them be, and instead, immerse ourselves in the beauty of the steel blue lake, luscious green trees, and clear skies. The trail is a soft carpet of fresh grass, peppered with yellow buttercups. Above us, trees merge their heads forming a thick canopy. We stop to notice the names of trails (Robinhood, Lady Marian), listen to the neighing of horses, and observe the wide green leaves of a certain plant that, we are warned, stinks! Just when we are about to end our hike, we make a plan for another — New Castle County Police Mounted Patrol is organizing a 5K run to raise funds to support the active duty and retired horses, on May 19, 2019. For details, log on to ClydesdaleCops.org.
The bluish green Brandywine creek followed us for a while, before hiding behind a cluster of brown branches and trunks. Then there was just us, the hard paved road, and the quiet of the woods. In that almost meditative silence, we heard the wind howl, and birds sing. As if lured by these sounds, we walked towards them, not minding the steep slope, the wet ground, or the slim paths that grew slimmer. The woods now seemed thicker and chaotic, like a brown crayon scribbling by a child. Our shoes brushed fresh yellow buttercups, while our eyes grazed the flawless blue sky. When we returned after an hour-and-a-half walk, the bluish green creek still stood calmly waiting for us.
We walked close to four miles, for two hours, at Carousel Park, Wilmington. Tall trees, still leafless, rose above us, guarding a trail that changed from paved roads, to graveled paths, and wet and muddy stretches, with every turn. On our way, we saw a tree with a mysterious dark cavernous opening; a little distance away was a giant trunk etched with names of those who had been there before us. As we inched closer to the Enchanted Lake, a brace of ducks shooed us away. So we made our way to Huckleberry Hill, where a pair of donkeys looked at us with a sense of disinterest. We also made a quick trip to the stable to meet our horse friends Lil Red, Diesel and Cutie. And just as we were about to leave, we stumbled upon an interesting arrangement of pebbles on the grass; it read ‘Joy’ — quite aptly summarizing what we felt at the end of the walk.
Somewhere in between two snow storms this month on the East Coast, was a sunny pleasant day. And fortunately it was a Sunday. So my husband and I decided to head to Kilgore Falls or The Falling branch Area of Rocks State Park in Harford County, Maryland. True to the name, the water, falling a graceful fall from a height of 17ft, carries with it small branches and lays it down in a cool pool that’s ornate with giant rocks.
This beauty is hidden on the far end of a path that’s laden with embossed roots like the veins on an old man’s hand.
And big fallen trees that try to spook you out.
Some look like the head of a snake.
And some like the fossil of a starfish.
Then there are some that look like a man in slumber.
And some others that are bleeding red.
They try to make our paths narrower.
Block certain exits.
Feign like they might fall on us.
But we look them in the face.
And say that no matter what, we are going to keep marching.
Maybe, we shall take rest for a bit.
And take a selfie or two.
But march, we shall…
Until we find the sweet stream.
Cool, clear waters.
With it, a flush of green.
And a dash of rainbow.
Up the steep steps, we shall go.
To see the origin of the beauty that’s the fall.
And we did.
A wonderful short getaway, Kilgore Falls is the second highest waterfall in Maryland (the highest is Cunningham Falls); this place was a private property until 1993, after which the Department of Natural Resources bought it and made it the Rocks State Park. The name Kilgore comes from the name of one of its previous owners, (not entirely sure) as mentioned in The Zone Magazine. Now, if you are some place far, and cannot plan a trip anytime soon, a sweet alternative is to watch the Disney movie Tuck Everlasting which has been shot here, or enjoy this set of breathtaking wedding photography at the venue.
Until our next travel.