There is something mysterious about walking in a forest early in the morning. It is by far my favorite time to go for a hike. The forest is awakening. Dew is still fresh on moss, lichens, leaves, and trees. Birds chirping their morning tune, insects humming along, and wildlife scampering about scavenging for their morning meal. I particularly like Cook Forest for this reason. There is just something about walking through this ancient forest, listening to it come to life for another day. Walking along in the mornings low light, surrounded by mist that’s hovering high in the tree or low in the valley. This forest is over 300 years old! This place has stories to tell.
The 4am alarm was buzzing. I knew I had to get up and going, I had a two hour drive ahead of me. Despite the drive I love going to Cook Forest. The closer I got to the forest I noticed how foggy it was. I love fog and couldn’t asked for anything better. When I arrived I decided to check out the fog hanging over the trees of the Clarion River. I watched the fog move in and out for about an hour then it was time to enter the forest. I didn’t have any idea what I’d find. Though I was looking forward to seeing the mist along the quiet paths deep in Forest Cathedral. Forest Cathedral is a network of trail that takes you through the oldest parts of the forest. I started at Rhododendron Trail took that to Tom’s Run where a short time later I caught Longfellow Trail. Longfellow takes you right in the center of this ancient forest. The Hemlocks and Pines here are the oldest and tallest. From Longfellow I caught Ancient Forest trail that took me back around to Tom’s Run and a quick stop down Red Eft trail back to Tom’s Run to complete the hike. It was close to noon when I made my way back down to Tom’s Run to see mist collecting in the valley.