I grew up next to a small city park that has grown to 300+ acres over the years. The park is bordered by a 400-800' foot deep ravine known as Trace Fork Canyon. Stretching about 8 miles, Trace Fork Canyon was the site of many of my fondest childhood memories, and is also home to terrain, flora, and fauna usually seen in the state's eastern highlands. The temperature is often much cooler - I could see my breath when I exhaled this morning. It is an awesome place to hike, but I haven't been back since last winter due to exploring other venues. The first scene greeted me when I opened my car door. As The Doctor says, "Fahntahstic!" (misspelling intentional). Blackgum, taken with the Fujinon 35mm f/1.7 C-mount: Unfortunately, one of my state's dirty little secrets is that hidden among its many valleys and ravines are too many sites like this. I considered skipping this scene, but I felt strongly compelled to take the photo. This is actually in the same spot where I discovered a landslide about 10 years ago that had buried the entire stream for hundreds of feet. A contractor working on soccer fields on the other side of the canyon rim caused the avalanche, and didn't bother to mention it until my report made it to a local newspaper and the state DEP, which took all of two days once I contacted a local environmental writer. It wasn't their first environmental blunder. Imagine that. All the rest of my photos were taken with the Promaster Spectrum 7 19-35mm: There used to be several industrial operations that made use of the creek and the natural gas hidden in the shale. Here are part of the ruins of the old saw mill. The underbrush was too thick to find the gas pipes that once fed the saw mill. I'll revisit it after the leaves fall: One of the countless rock formations, with hardwoods and Eastern Hemlock in abundance: The scenery along the bottom is breathtaking, and the echo of wildlife sounds is mesmerizing: Lots of moss and ferns: Some sort of pollution seeping from the hillside. I found a couple of spots like this. Either something buried is leaking, or one of the old abandoned coal mines is leaching out. I'm going to give the photo and GPS coordinates to a DEP worker I know: Umbrella Magnolia is in abundance: Hard to believe this was once a major rural road. Some maps still show it as County Rte. 501: A waterfall known as the Small Cascade, and what I call its "prehistoric fossilized bear print". There used to be a Large Cascade, but the previously mentioned landslide buried it, and when the contractor was ordered to repair the stream, they didn't bother to restore the waterfall, but dredged the stream and covered the banks in rip-rap. Finally, Devil's Darning Needles (Clematis virginiana). I had previously been under the impression it only grew in our state's eastern highlands. The lacy flowers are a sure sign of Autumn.