Saturday, July 14, 2012

All Things I Love and McConnells Mill State Park

A Tribute to the Beautiful McConnells Mill State Park in Western PA 
Text, Photos, Video, Maps, Information

[McConnells Mill State Park is located in Lawrence County, Western Pennsylvania. The focal point of the park consists of an old mill that once processed corn, oats, wheat, and buckwheat for area residents. The original mill was built by Daniel Kennedy in 1852. Thomas McConnell bought the mill from Daniel Kennedy in 1868. The mill closed down in 1928. The property (2,546 acres) passed hands to Thomas Hartman and then in 1946 to the Western PA Conservancy and later to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth, thus setting apart and preserving the land for all to enjoy. McConnells Mill Sate Park was officially dedicated as a state park in October 1957]

There are a lot of things that I love in this wonderful life. I love God and I love my family. Though this world can be trying at times, I love life, and try to make the best of every day. I also love staying active and healthy and I absolutely LOVE the outdoors. My perfect vacation is with friends and family situated not to far from a national or state park or a not too crowded beach.

I was born and raised in a little neighborhood that we called Castlewood and that others might call Energy, situated between New Castle and Elwood City. I grew up in what most would call the country, where a big back yard was one that you could play softball in without having to search for too many balls that end up in the weeds.

Before Moraine State park was created we would go swimming in Slippery Rock creek at the Armstrong Bridge. I can still feel the sharp rocks under my feet as we walked from the shore of the creek to the water.

A very short distance from my home is the fantastic state park called McConnells Mill State Park. When I was young we had family reunions at the park, up the hill from the covered bridge and old mill, near the entrance off Route 422 via McConnells Mill Road.

We also frequented Hell's Hollow (about two miles from my home), part of McConnells Mill State Park, and a 7.2mi hike to the old mill and covered bridge. The 7.2mi hike starts at the Hell's Hollow parking lot and follows the Slippery Rock Gorge trail to Eckert Bridge, then on to the Kildoo Trail to the old mill. Very soon after leaving the Hell's Hollow parking lot you have the option of going left on to the Slippery Rock Gorge trail or right for a short walk to a very nice waterfall.

So, why this Website? I wanted to create a tribute to a place that I love so very much. Though I was born and raised very near McConnells Mill State Park I now live in Houston Texas. Much of my family still lives near the park and I make it up there about three times a year. One of the first things (and the middle and last thing) I do when I get home is hike in the park. On a recent visit in June 2012 I did two four mile and two eight mile hikes/jogs. The jogging part is a little crazy but I enjoy it, until I stumble over a root and end up doing an unplanned push-up (why I wear gloves when jogging, protects my hands when I stumble). I also caught some beautiful colors there last fall and plan on hitting fall and winter this year. 

My father had a love of the outdoors that he passed on to me. He is gone now, but the legacy lives on...

My Dad, 1984. Falls at Hell's Hollow

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