In my experience, if you want to find the most interesting trails - ask a local. Recently I got the chance while spending a weekend at my friend's family cabin in Micheaux State Forest, Pennsylvania. Her parents are also avid hikers and suggested we try a hidden gem nearby, the ruins of Camp Micheaux.
The land has a long history and has been used for very different purposes:
1787-1919 Iron works/farm
1933-42 Civilian Conservation Corps camp
1943-45 Secret interrogation camp for German and Japanese Prisoners of War
1948-1972 (haunted?) Summer camp
When the POW camp closed, workers put this marker near the entrance. The engraving is very faded now, but reads: "Third Service Command, Pine Grove, POW"
It was the perfect weather to visit such an eerie location. Heavy fog soaked the forest, which intensified colors and scattered the light evenly. Bright but creepy, how often do you get that when you want it? At this site a single concrete footing remained next to a menacing spiky tree.
Back when the camp was operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps, they built this stone fountain. A pathway is still worn to it through the woods, with roots criss crossing underfoot.
The base is set with beautiful blue slag, a melted rock runoff from the iron industry that used to operate nearby. I thought they looked like rough sapphires, and had the thought that they might have comforted some of the prisoners who liked naturally made objects, like me.
Along the way there were faint remains of building foundations.
The fog got thicker and we passed strange trees.
There was so much personality in the forest, it almost looked staged.
At the end of the path we came across a partially intact building with three walls standing. Layers of warm undergrowth reached up towards the blue mist. To me, this is the most successful image of the day so far because it is geometric, complicated and mesmerizing.
What was left of the doorway was moss covered and overgrown. We stood there admiring it for a while, then headed back towards an unexplored area.
Walking along the wide roadway trees started to thicken into a black forest.
Going this way felt like a trap, the crouching tree looked ready to pounce.
I'm glad we did though, there was a field of rolled up fences waiting right around the bend.
Amazing place right? Well we're only half-way through. Next let's walk up these crumbling stairs and explore a big abandoned barn together. Stay in touch!
If you're in love with one of these photographs purchase a small print by donation in my Keepsake Cards collection. Write a note or memory you want to save and enjoy the framed artwork for a lifetime.
Talk to you soon,