It has been a while since I went to Cook Forest State Park and it was high-tide time I go. Cook is definitely one of my favorites. Tucked away just below Allegheny National Forest, Cook Forest in Clarion County has an allure to it. Something about the Forest Cathedral, the old growth forest, new growth above the ridge-line, the Clarion river, and Tom’s run. It feels like something straight out of middle earth! I’m always so enchanted and inspired when I go there.
The few days we were there was no exception. The weather was weird and wonderful. A huge thunder and lightning storm swept in the first night we were camping. It cooled everything off and created a nice night to spend in the tent. The next day we went for a long hike from camp to Tom’s Run up into Forest Cathedral. It was still damp out but getting hot quick. Rains came and cooled everything off by the time we hit Tom’s Run. Humidity hit fast after the rains though and by the time we hiked to the top and entered Forest Cathedral it was balmy. This made for some wonderful conditions! We noticed fog drifting in and out from the massive trees. The forest was dark and peaceful with a few chips from birds. It was perfect! It’s always perfect there. Cook Forest is a wonderful place to go and get away. It was just what I needed. I was able to walk and just listen to my foot steps. We found a really nice back county camp site (I’ll inquire about permits next time) and stopped for lunch. We hit the new growth hemlock forest on the way back. I like that little area, the new white and red pines remind me of being back in the Pacific Northwest. I think this section was planted by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) between 1933-1937. We continued on on Bridle trail which isn’t often hiked back down to Indian Trail and took Tom’s Run back to Ridge trail and back to camp. It was one of the best hikes in a long time!
One the way back we stopped so I could photograph Tom’s Run and it finally happened! After all these years. After placing my camera and making two photos, as I setup the third I bumped my tripod and my camera landed lens first into a huge boulder in Tom’s Run. Luckily I had a filter on the front. Which is now bent and stuck to my lens. I’ve got filter wrenches on the way in hopes of being able to pry it off. If it wasn’t for the filter, I would’ve surely had cracked glass. Well it was bound to happen at some point. Just part of the adventure.