Foraging Pittsburgh

Wild Food Walks, Workshops, & Guided Nature Hikes


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Frankfort Mineral Springs in Raccoon Creek State Park

frankfortwinterFrankfort Mineral Springs – showcasing nature’s perfection since who knows when.

Shawnee and Lenape inhabitants of the area used these springs centuries ago. Notably rich in magnesium carbonate and iron, the springs brought relief, both as a cold bath and a drink, to those experiencing chronic rheumatism, indigestion, and liver complaints. A popular resort was built for the wealthy, then later accidentally set ablaze in 1932, while all that remains is a guest cottage – and, of course, the springs.

As you can see, the adjacent waterfall is frozen while the springs (right side of photo) trickle out fresh from the shale and sandstone formation – providing free, highly mineralized water for those who are open to the experience.

If you pass through Western Pennsylvania, make your way into Raccoon Creek State Park, and this will become your reality.


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Autumn In Pennsylvania – Why Do You Look So Beautiful?

rickettsglenwildfoodism

The Walking Dead, Monday Night Football, and Talking Dead were the top three shows viewed last week, and I’m sure they deserve their rankings. It is my belief, however, that the “Greatest Show On Earth” title is more deservedly attributed to autumn’s annual spectacular display of color.

While we’re watching our old VHS copies of Hocus Pocus, trees are responding to the decreasing amount of sunlight by producing less and less chlorophyll. As the green pigments break down and chlorophyll production eventually ceases, carotenoids (yellow pigments) and anthocyanins (red and purple pigments) are unmasked. Certain fall colors are associated with specific trees. For example, autumn leaves of tulip poplar, beech, and the birches are usually a shade of yellow, while the autumn leaves of dogwood, sourwood, and sumac are usually a shade of red.

These photos were taken last week at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania (about a four-hour drive east from Pittsburgh), on a walk through an old growth forest teeming with at least two dozen waterfalls (and plenty of mushrooms).

Every season is beautiful in its own way, but jeez … few sights are more pleasing to the eye (and spirit) than autumn woodlands. Appreciate it while it’s hot!

P.S. Not knocking Hocus Pocus in any way … I actually really like that movie.