These photos are over a year old. Why? I have no idea. Mandy and I took a trip down to Doylestown, PA, in August 2013, just to get away for a weekend and explore. We had a great time and I was very happy with the photos I made during the trip. And yet I never shared them; they’ve been sitting in my “to be posted” file for 15 months. That ends now with this first post (which was originally supposed to be the second in a series), with the rest to come soon!
So after wrapping up a sunrise shoot at nearby Nockamoxen State Park (more on that to come), I got back on the road and made my way through a maze of back roads to Ralph Stover State Park, nestled in at the end of the Tohickon Creek, which runs from the outlet of Lake Nockamixon and through the gorge before emptying into the Delaware River.
Ralph Stover is your typical, idyllic little state park, and I loved it from the moment I started exploring it. I walked down by the river (where I startled the geese in the photo below) and meandered along the trail through a vibrant green thicket under tall hardwoods.
There were a surprising number of folks camping in the park, filling some grassy sections not far from the river, and I remember thinking that they had the right idea. At that moment I’d have traded my comfortable, climate-controlled hotel room for a chance to sleep in a tent next to a river so that I could wake at dawn and wander out to sit on a rock by the water and drink coffee while a light fog rolled across the water. (Don’t ask where the coffee came from – in this fantasy I sure as hell didn’t light a fire, boil water, and brew it before going down to the water.)
Farther down, just past the campgrounds, and old wooden bridge crosses the river, or at least the nearer branch of it, giving access to a mid-stream island. It’s kind of a funny old bridge, uncovered but with tall, solid sides. I’m really not sure what its story is, although it probably wouldn’t be hard to find out.
There’s something about the park that charmed me and after I thought about it for a while, I realized that it reminded me of Salt Springs State Park up near Montrose, PA, where I spent a lot of time in my college years. Both sit on the banks of a meandering river and are idyllic in their own quiet, unassuming way.
After traipsing around the main park area for a while, I got back in the car and GPS’d my way around to the other side of the river, upstream a ways where the gorge is genuine, deep and rugged. The road turns to dirt, which is always a good sign, and there’s a nice parking lot across the road from an open wood, free of scrub brush and criss-crossed with trails.
It’s my favorite kind of woodland trail pattern, a seemingly random collection of paths that give them impression that they all take you someplace worth going. None of them are marked, so you don’t really know where you’re headed, but when you get there it was worth the walk. I followed them to a couple of different overlooks, where I was able to peer down into the gorge and out across the hilltops. The sun was up and coming right at me, so shooting the gorge was difficult, but I did get a few shots in the woods that I liked.
And about the time I was ready to wrap up, Mandy called me from back at the hotel, wondering where I was and if I was ready for breakfast. So I packed the gear away and succummed to the promise of scrambled eggs and bacon.
What I can say for sure is that I was enchanted by what I saw that morning, and by the whole Doylestown area itself. And I’ll definitely be back to see more of it.