The White Cliffs of Conoy

Hello, and good day! Today I am sharing details about my latest ramble, which took me to the White Cliffs of Conoy above the Susquehanna River. This morning, I was working busily in my library with the windows wide open, curtains blowing, and the breeze lifting the edges of my research papers, threatening to scatter them all over the floor. A text from a friend chimed through, inviting me on a hike later in the week. I knew I would be engaged with something else on the date of the hike, but the seed was planted.

I had been wanting to visit the Cliffs of Conoy (comprised of limestone and dolomite) ever since reading an article about them about a year ago (I’m not sure why it took me so long to act!). With the gorgeous weather beckoning, I thought, “Today’s the day!” Without any further deliberation, I quickly assembled a backpack of essentials for the Little Thistles, telephoned some amiable hiking company (my parents), and hopped in the car.

After a pleasant drive, we arrived in the town of Bainbridge, and located the appointed parking area in Koser Park. The path to the Cliffs is paved, making a smooth and solid surface for walking. (This walk is stroller and bike friendly, for those who may wonder). The walk to the Cliffs extends about 1.5 miles from the parking area, although the path goes on far beyond, for those who wish to take a longer walk. We made a few deviations, and ended up walking just shy of four miles, round-trip.

Along the path, there are ample industrial and company-town ruins from a long-ago lime kiln and quarry operation. Established in 1846-47 by John Haldeman, the quarry was particularly active from the mid-19th century through World War I. Early operations were centered on four lime kilns used to produce agricultural lime, whitewash, and plaster. However, the quarry also yielded dolomite, which is used for smelting in the the steel industry. This side of the industry boomed as demand for steel increased in the early 20th century. I enjoyed seeing the vine-covered ruins, as they prompted me to consider how quickly nature conquers human “achievements.”

The views of the White Cliffs and the Susquehanna River are beautiful and inspiring. The power of the Susquehanna is evident, even from above, and the chalky-looking cliffs catch the sunlight just-so. As we walked, raptors soared above our heads, while smaller birds filled the trees and underbrush with song. On this day, the still-wintry landscape belied the sudden eighty-degree weather, but I know that the flora will soon catch up!

We snacked on juicy clementines as we walked, and carried the fragrant peels home to our compost pile. (Before they hit the compost pile, however, the peels will yield citrus vinegar. There are three jars of it steeping away on the counter at this moment!). We arrived back at the car, intrigued by the dichotomy of nature and industry, and ready to snuggle the surprisingly-heavyย Little Thistles into their car-seats once more.

Have you ever visited the White Cliffs of Conoy? I am so glad the area is now available for the public to visit and enjoy (since 2014)!

With Peace,

Jennie

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