Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wissahickon Valley Park

This weekend my wife and I took a hike in Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia. Despite having driven past the park entrance many times, I had never been inside. As soon as you walk out of earshot of busy Lincoln Drive, you would think you were in the Pocono Mountains.

Since we didn't have a trail map, we stayed on Forbidden Drive, which is the main path through the park. Forbidden Drive used to be called the Wissahickon Turnpike, but they changed the name when those new-fangled horseless carriages were forbidden to drive on it. Here is a photo of the Blue Stone Bridge, which replaced the old Red Bridge in 1896. The little building to the right is the toll house. It is hard to imagine a time when this road was so busy with carriages that they would charge a toll to ride on it!

If you look in the window of the toll house, you can watch the elves baking Toll House Cookies. Or you can read the archaeological display, which includes a photo of a coin marked "Taylor's Hotel, Wissahickon, PA", which they believe was a bridge token.

To see a postcard of the bridge from the good old days, click here. Then click on the postcard to zoom in.

Here is an even more curious photo from our hike. I have no idea what those rectangular brown things are on this bush. They look like some type of shelf fungus, but I could not find them in any fungus books at the book store. Maybe they are part of the bush itself. In any case, it is odd that they are so rectangular. Well, that is a mystery for another day.


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