The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon
Our visit to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon started in Corning, NY where we had stayed at the Radisson Hotel the night before. In our last post, we had followed Hwy. 15 south as far as Mansfield. For this segment we turned on to Hwy 6 and headed past the community of Wellsboro until we reached the Tioga County Visitor Center (former Dexter Baptist Church) where we picked up more detailed information about the area.
At this point in the journey, it would have been hard to convince us that significant canyon was only a few miles away.
The canyon is pretty impressive. Carved out of the surrounding hillsides by the Pine Creek, the canyon is, at some points, deeper than 1200 feet. Can’t really compete with the shear size and grandeur of the Arizona Grand Canyon but pretty impressive nonetheless.
Looking North from the observation deck
We decided to view the canyon from the various trails and public viewing points in Leonard Harrison State Park which is located on the east rim of the canyon about 9 miles from Wellsboro. (Location) Visitors can view the canyon from above, as we did, or if time permits from below by walking or cycling along the rail trail which follows along close to the river.
When we arrived, a half dozen Turkey Vultures were soaring back and forth on the wind updrafts from the canyon.
It was hot and humid with the temperature around +30C (+87F) so we decided that hiking any of the more vigorous trails down to the lower levels of the canyon would have to wait for some other visit. We chose instead to just hike down to the Otter View at the end of the Overlook Trail.
The Overlook Trail is less than a mile in length and loops through a forested area and past an old incinerator. There were a few slippery spots and one steep section but was easy to follow and just right for a warm day.
As we walked along the trail, I enjoyed stopping to photograph the early Spring flowers and a small toad that hopped my way.
Gaywings (Fringed Polygala) below – Orchid-like in appearance but not an orchid. Two of the petals look like wings and the other three petals form a tube with a fringe. The Gaywings, below, add a bit of springtime colour to the fringes of moister forest areas. They are a member of the Milkwort family.
This small toad was an added bonus as it hopped across my path and then stopped in the leaf litter thinking that it was well enough camouflaged to be hidden from my view.
It wasn’t long before we were back at the main observation area and planning our trip back to Wellsboro where we would find our accommodation for the night. The flowering azaleas provided a nice touch on this Spring day.