George Block Column
A trip to Templeton Fork in the spring is well worth the effort
There was a photo I saw last week of a yellow flower that was identified as a buttercup. I hate to be a person who critcizes others, but I would swear it was actually a colts foot, which is one of our earliest wildflowers.
Usually, it appears along roadsides and is misidentified as a dandelion.
The photo did remind me it is time to visit the wildflowers along the valley of the Enlow Fork of Wheeling Creek.
Here you can see large patches of Virginia bluebells and blue-eyed Marys. An alert visitor will see larkspur and, of course, the flower we used to call the skunk lily, the trillium.
I can’t think of another place in our area that holds such a variety and abundance of wildflowers.
Another that is common and a personal favorite is the adders tongue, which is also sometimes called the dog tooth violet.
I have found large patches of wildflowers along the Templeton Fork, which empties into the nearby Enlow.
My usual route takes me south on Route 221, where I make a right onto Craft Creek Road. I follow Craft Creek to where it joins Rockey Run. I then follow Rockey Run to the point where the Templeton Fork is on the right side of the road.
I travel up the hill and at the top, you can make a right toward West Finley or stay left and follow the creek. I follow the creek to see the wildflowers along the gravel road.
Stay on that road, and you will pass through a covered bridge that exits onto a blacktop road. At the stop sign, make a right. I would say that you go straight, but the road actually goes left for about 20 yards and then right and up a long hill. You can see the road from the stop sign.
After you reach the top of the hill, look for a blue building on the left and then make a right turn. This road goes through a vista of wildflowers until it reaches a dead end at a parking area.
From there, walk along the old road. This is a remote area where the only other people you see will be others enjoying the wildflowers or an occasional angler.
The hike will take you up a hill and down to a bridge. At the very top of the hill, if the timing is right, you will find a stand of columbine. Down the hill where the bridge crosses the creek, there is a very large sycamore tree.
I have photos of my late wife, Eileen, standing under this tree and must admit that I did not go to this place last spring.
I just hope they didn’t paint the blue building.
When I think of this beautiful place, I think of a poem that begins, “To see a wold in a grain of sand, Heaven in a wildflower.”
This strip of land was saved by the Western Pa. Conservancy for all to see. I remember a former Pennsylvania Game Commission commissioner telling me if a person could belong to just one group, it should be the conservancy.
• John Dino and I spent a day a few weeks ago watching a group of over 300 kids breaking clay birds at Roy Sisler’s Hunting Hills.
The Hawkeyes, as the Greene County group is known, do an excellent job of handling their shotguns without an accident of any type. Many can outshoot most of the adults I know.
The adult supporters and Sisler should be proud of the time and effort they put into showing the youngsters that shooting can be fun.
George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.