Sam’s Run – A Johnstown Hidden Gem

Sam’s Run – A Johnstown Hidden Gem

Waterfalls, foliage, and ice, oh my. Complete with photos.

Autumn Along Sam’s Run

At the cusp of Autumn, and beyond (shudder), I thought it might be nice to share some photos taken over the years of one of Johnstown’s true hidden treasures: Sam’s Run flowing through Lorain Boro and Stonycreek Township. With beautiful scenery any time of the year, the hike ranges from easy to moderately difficult from beginning to end. Once the Lorain Boro Trail turns right up Belmont Hill you’ll have to hike the stream bed the rest of the way to the falls. Be prepared to get your feet wet as it can be a bit of a scramble. Conversely, you can find a place to park in Belmont and make a quick, if difficult scramble down the falls itself. I’ve included a map in the gallery to provide a reference.

Lorain Boro Ballfield

Park at the Lorain Boro ballfield parking lot and follow the road all the way up past the pavilion and into the woods. You might park outside the gate at the pavilion and save yourself a few minutes but, frankly, I’m have no confidence when gates are locked or unlocked anywhere around here so I just walk the extra couple hundred yards. The road leads right to the path, the path leads right to the ‘crick,’ and the creek leads right to the falls. The hike probably takes about a half hour each way, but I can’t be sure as I’m forever stopping to take photos. If you’d rather not make the effort, here are some of those photos for your enjoyment.

Yoder Falls Revisited

A quick drop in and slow climb out of the Yoder Falls ravine today

Yoder Falls and the Artist

Yoder Falls and the Artist

Yoder Falls and the Artist[/caption]I made a quick run to Yoder Falls this morning, hoping I could catch some snow scenes. Three different weather sources and, again, three different forecasts for this morning but one predicted a break in precip before the snow changed to rain. No such luck. Continue reading

Gallitzin State Forest  – Day 2

Gallitzin State Forest – Day 2

I love what you’ve done with the place…

Sunrise in Gallitzin State Forest

Sunrise in Gallitzin State Forest

The promise of a bit of sunlight and the time to experience it sent me scurrying last week back to Gallitzin State Forest to capture the images I had visualized on my earlier scouting trip. Up at 4:00AM, a bit of coffee (some stupid left his thermos sitting on the kitchen counter), dressed for the chill, pack the kit and on the road by 6:30. What an exciting visual adventure this would turn out to be. Continue reading

Surprising Winter Color in the Clear Shade Wild Area

Surprising Winter Color in the Clear Shade Wild Area

What a difference a couple of weeks makes

Gallitzin State Forest, Babcock Division

Gallitzin State Forest, Babcock Division

New Year’s Day, pre-dawn, found me wandering around the Clear Shade Wild Area of Gallitzin State Forest’s Babcock Division, desperately seeking a composition, a wash of light, a compelling subject, anything that would help to create an image Continue reading

Best Views #4 – The Stonycreek Canyon

“Here, kayakers and rafters can find 15 rapids in four miles — the longest set of continuous rapids in the eastern United States.” – Mark Nale – Centre Daily Times

Kayakers in the Stonycreek Canyon, Johnstown, PA

Kayakers approaching the Carpenter’s Park put-in while navigating the Stonycreek Canyon

Without a doubt, the best way to enjoy the scenic views of the Stonycreek Canyon is by boat: kayak, canoe or raft, but you’re going to want more than a bit of experience and training to take on these world-class rapids. For more information on seeing this unparalled natural beauty while having the time of your life, check out the Benscreek Canoe Club. Continue reading

Progress for the Steeples Project

Photographing Johnstown’s Cultural Heritage

The Steeples Project churches

As reported in this morning’s Tribune Democrat, The Steeples Project continues to make progress in the preservation of the three Cambria City church structures under their care: The Grand Halle on Broad Street (former Immaculate Conception), SS. Casimir & Emerich’s, and St. Columba’s. It’s been my privelege to help support the Project through my photography, and to explore these monuments of Johnstown’s heritage in that pursuit. Continue reading

Best Views #3 – The Conemaugh Viaduct

“Who has not heard of the famous viaduct?” – J.J. McLaurin, Harrisburg Telegram

viaduct 1Next up on our list of the Best Scenic Views of the Southern Highlands is my favorite vista anywhere. No, I haven’t been everywhere, but I’ve seen the sun rise silver over Good Harbor Beach on a frosty November morning. I’ve seen a star-filled night on Assateague Island, just me and the ponies, that would have driven van Gogh sane. Continue reading

Best Views #2 – Yoder Falls

Best Views #2 – Yoder Falls

Yoder Falls – You can’t get there from here

(Scroll down if you can’t wait to see the photos)

Second on our list of the best scenic views in the Southern Highlands is Yoder Falls in Conemaugh Township, Somerset County. It’s hard to believe that my aunts and uncles scrambled up and down these ravine walls 85 years ago and Grandma would have had a ‘conniption’ if she had known. Continue reading

Best Scenic Views of Pennsylvania’s Southern Highlands

Best Scenic Views of Pennsylvania’s Southern Highlands

“What a delightful prospect it must have afforded…when the morning sun
first touched with its rays the summit of the Allegheny, and in its setting,
flooded the heights of the Laurel Hill with a sea of gold, and bathed
the whole intervening country with its soft and mellow light.” -Hon. Wm. H. Koontz, 1895

Continue reading