Brian Ford, hiker and author of hikebyfaith.com recently wrote this story. He is gracious enough to allow Only in the Cove to share his stories. Please be sure to checkout his site at www.hikebyfaith.com.
HIKING THE COVE TELLS A STORY – by Brian Ford
I grew up in suburbia New Jersey where homes are cut from the same three molds. Our house was at the end of a cul de sac where a chain link fence and a narrow creek separated our yard from the neighborhood playground. On the west side of the playground another fence separated the park from a section of woods. While most of the kids chose to play on the swings and monkey bars, I chose to wade in the creek catching fish and building forts in the woods. My parents knew I explored those woods as long as I stayed close to the park. Venturing further in was not allowed. Humors among the kids in the neighborhood said the Jersey devil roamed deep in those woods. But I knew better, my parents didn’t want me wandering to far in because the local “older” kids used it for a place to party and ride their dirt bikes.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a love for the outdoors, hiking and exploring. As a boy my imagination would run away with me every time I roamed those woods by our house. Each time I ventured in I knew I was going to find a treasure or stumble upon some artifact. A piece of blue glass suddenly came from the civil war era. A jagged-edged stone became an arrow head. Whatever I found my imagination would take me there.
Fast forward thirty some years and today I live in Morrison’s Cove, or as we locals call it, The Cove. Legend says that the “Cove” or “Covert”, was used in the early days as a hiding place for stolen horses, by a man by the name of Morris, who was a notorious horse-thief in the eastern counties of Pennsylvania, and when pursued brought his stolen animals here for safe keeping. Most likely though it got its name from one of the many families that settled this area over a century ago. Surrounded by mountains The Cove is about thirty-nine miles long and averages eight miles in width. It is surrounded by mountains, foot hills of the Allegheny mountains, chief of which is “Tussey” (or Terrace) on the east, broken ranges or spurs Dunnings, Lock and Loop on the west.
It was once said by a traveler passing through; “I have traveled over nearly all of the United States and nowhere have I seen anything that excels your Morrison’s Cove. What splendid farm buildings! What beauty of landscape! I did not know there was anything like it in Pennsylvania.”
For me the Cove is home, it’s peaceful and when driving into the Cove through one of it’s few openings (Loysburg Gap to the south, McKee’s Gap to the west and Williamsburg to the North) the outside world seems to shut behind me.
I’m still the boy who loves to explore and allow his imagination to flow when out in the woods. Living in the Cove I have an advantage I didn’t have when growing up in New Jersey…the amount of woods in my backyard available to explore. And I’m still looking for treasures and artifacts.
Our woods are filled with history; foundations of old homesteads can be found, burial sites from Indian massacres and a wreckage from a plane crash still sits at the top of Tussey Mt. What are there stories? Who were they?
For me hiking is more then just a walk in the woods. Hiking tells a story. Hiking is place where in the solitude of my imagination the boy who explored a suburban wooded lot comes alive and the adventure begins. Yes, the Cove is home but it’s also so much more. When I’m not traveling in search of new trails and mountain summits to conquer I spend my time hiking the Cove.
There is a world to be explored, or if you’re a resident of Morrison’s Cove, a Cove to explore. Put on your hiking boots and coat. Turn off the T.V. and set down the iPad. Get outside and explore and allow your childhood imagination to run free and escape the daily routine of a world that doesn’t know how to slow down.