Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Greenland Gap

Last week we drove across state to attend our grandson's graduation. As always, the drive was gorgeous; I can never decide in which season the mountains are at their most beautiful. On this trip, I wanted to be sure we took the time to drive through Greenland Gap, a 250-acre parcel of incredible landscape that is protected by the Nature Conservancy. It's not easy to find, really, since there are few signs leading you to the Gap, but I had a vague memory of how to get there, so we decided to visit the area on our way home.

We got an early start and turned confidently up the road leading, I thought, to the place but after driving a bit decided it was not the right way. After a few more false starts we asked directions from a state roads worker--who would know better, right?--and soon we were there.

What is Greenland Gap? It's exactly what it says, a gap cut through the mountains by Patterson Creek. During the Civil War it was the site of a battle between Union and Confederate troops; the small 87-man Union unit held off 1500 Confederates for four hours before surrendering. It is easy to see how they could have done so because the opening between the rocky cliffs is so narrow it would have been pretty easy to defend. (The defenders, who were holed up in a church and a cabin, were eventually burned out and that ended the conflict.)

Being there early in the day was a special delight. The air was almost chilly, sharp and bright, and the sunlight was just beginning to filter through the trees.

Patterson Creek was running high due to recent rains, and the waterfall was perfect. I honestly could have stayed all day just listening. Is there anything as restful as the sound of water running over rocks?

There are two hiking trails in the gap but we were not equipped, and probably not in the physical shape, required to tackle them. The trails lead to the top of the towering cliffs on either side; jumbled rockfalls litter the sides of the cliffs and the going is pretty tricky, so I hear. There are some Canadian plants growing in the area, and I have heard reports of eagle sightings although I do not know if those are verified or if vultures who hang out here were mistaken for the more stately bird.

I was focused more on the creek, I'm afraid--no photos of those majestic cliffs. With the green leaves so thick, I don't know that I could have taken one from where we were, anyway.

I hated to leave but we had miles to go before reaching home. We'll be back, though--it will be part of our visits to our son's house, we decided. Some places are just worth seeing again and again. Greenland Gap is one of those places.



You can see a video made by WCHS-TV about Greenland Gap, and hear the waterfall for yourself by clicking here.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

You captured the beauty of this place very well.

Sue said...

What lovely and peaceful scenery.

=)

Sue said...

And congrats to your grandson, too!

=)

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