Worlds End State Park is on the Allegheny High Plateau known as the Sullivan Highlands and is part of the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. This plateau was formed by numerous collisions between North America and Europe and Africa. These same collisions formed the entire Appalachian Mountain Chain.
350 million years ago, this part of Pennsylvania was on the coastline of a shallow sea that covered most of the interior of North America. High mountains to the east eroded, dumping vast amounts of clays, sands and gravel on the coast, building up the sediment for about 100 million years. The great pressure of the sediments squeezed them into shale, sandstone and conglomerate rocks found in the park today.
Getting to Worlds End State Park was like getting to the end of the world. It was the ultimate roller coaster drive. I realize I may have driven roads that were more like a roller coaster, but none came to mind at the time. This day was not as good as the day before, but it was good enough. I did voluntarily (either I used it or I didn't see the Vista Point) use a gravel road to get to the Vista Point, but most of the days's driving was on paved roads. That does not translate into good roads. Traveling east-west in the Appalachians is always an adventure, if one is not on an Interstate. A large part of Pennsylvania and much of the East Coast is
"ridges and valleys" like all the Appalachian States. The better roads run along those land formations, mostly the valleys. Those roads crossing over a mountain will, by its nature be in less than desirable condition. These ridges and valleys were formed by the collisions of the continents mentioned above. There were at least two of these collisions and what happened to the North America land mass was akin to pushing a piece of dress material across a table top. It wrinkles or buckles up into a shape much like a sine wave.
The Appalachians formed roughly 480 million years ago and rivaled the Alps and Rockies in elevation. Over that time period, they have been eroded into the mountains we see today. The Appalachians do not get the press that is given to the Rocky Mountains, but it is a little known fact that few of the Rocky Mountains have vertical rises (base to peak) higher than some of the Appalachians. We tend to forget that the base of the Rocky Mountains is already over 6000 feet above sea level, while the base of the Appalachians is near sea level.
The Appalachians run from Central Alabama northeasterly through 16 states into the Canadian Provinces of New Brunswick, Quebec and out into the Atlantic to Newfoundland. The Appalachian International Trail that begins in Alabama ends on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec.
I apologize for that Geology/Geography lesson, but these are MY mountains and I have traveled through them countless times in my running up, down and around the East Coast. They are beautiful in their treed splendor.
Loyalsock Creek and the Flowers
Some closer looks at the singing creek
These flowers were along the banks of Loyalsock Creek. Moths, butterflies and various kinds of bees were doing their pollination jobs.
When I arrived in the park, the first stop was the Visitor Center. I talked with a couple of Park Rangers and checked out the gift shop. From there I took a stroll around their botanical garden and saw flowers I had never seen before in my travels and some that I had.
All of these flowers were in an area perhaps 30 feet by 20 feet. There was much collor packed into that small space.
Loyalsock Canyon Vista
After the garden tour, I headed on this road up the mountain to the vista site. On the way, I saw the tree in the right photo with a burl that went nearly completely around the tree. That must have been some injury. The road was steep with many cutbacks and sharp turns. Gypsy knew a shortcut coming back down, but she didn't know that road was closed due to a bridge being out. Consequently, I wasted about ten miles and a couple of hours backtracking to the park.
This IS Pennsylvania and I will always love her
I enjoyed Worlds End even more than Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon. I have the t-shirt to prove it. A side adventure. I left my hat in the rest room at the Visitor Center. I did not discover the missing hat until I was too far from the park to go back. I stopped at a wide spot in the road and called the Visitor Center to ask them if anyone had turned it in. No, but the Ranger would go take a look. It was still there. The Ranger said he would mail it where I wanted, after I send them a Postal money order for the shipping cost. Which I did and which he did. When I arrived in Florida in October, my sister, Pat mailed it on to me.