I needed a break. I needed to figure this out or at least make an attempt. I needed to be alone. No talking. Just me. It’s more than a state of being. It’s a real place I can escape. So where do I go when I need these things? The Laurel Highlands. The Laurel Highlands has many nooks and crannies to explore. My latest is Quebec Natural Area. It’s the perfect place for solitude. Rarely have I run into anyone else here. The natural area includes two watersheds. I wanted to pay a visit to the namesake Quebec Run. Easiest way to do that was to take Hess trail to Rankin trail. Rankin follows Quebec Run for at least 1.1 miles. I knew I was getting close when the Mountain Laurel grew thicker. The further down I hiked, the thicker the Mountain Laurel got…until I heard it. The rushing waters. The first spot I found was covered in what felt like a tunnel of Mountain Laurel with Quebec Run rushing underneath. I climbed down and felt closed in. This was a good feeling though. I spent a long time here. I felt everything melt away and I was able to focus on making photographs. It’s been some time since I felt this. I was definitely in the zone. The entire day was like this and Quebec Run was gorgeous. Once I hit Rankin Trail I was easily able to scramble down the hillside to the banks of the run. Here I found rushing waterfalls and cascades. Small pockets of snow remained in the shade which broke up the brown and green. It was certainly early spring. I saw the beginnings of the forest coming back to life. The fresh breeze, whiffs of the scattered Pines and heard the birds come to life with small tweets through the trees. It felt good to spend the day waterside. I almost hated to leave. This is such a diverse area. The trails aren’t terribly difficult yet the area offers so much from deep forest groves to lush Mountain Laurel overlooking rushing streams, which boast some amazing backcountry falls. I sometimes wonder how many times they’ve really been seen. I don’t have anything figured out. But at least this trip served to quiet my head. It’s always what I ask for.
But his soul was mad.
Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked
within itself and, by heavens I tell you, It had