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Spring Colors – Ricketts Glen State Park

April 27th, 2017 – April 30th, 2017

Ricketts Glen State Park is home to the outstanding Falls Trail. This trail alone boasts 18 of the 22 named waterfalls that exist within the park. All 18 of these waterfalls can be reached via a roughly 7.2 mile, well marked, hiking trail. The trail provides an elevation drop of approximately 600 feet over half it’s length and conversely requires approximately 600 feet of elevation gain on the way back out. The trail requires hikers to pay attention to their footing, as they are hiking, and is ranked as an intermediate level hike. As we will be hiking the trail over the period of the daylights hours, the pace we are observing provides us plenty of time to rest as we crest the top of each fall on the way back out.

The Falls Trail is divided into three (3) distinct sections. Arbitrarily numbering them, we refer to Ganoga Glen as section one. Ganoga Glen provides one of two possible entries into the collection of waterfalls and eventually terminates at a junction point known as Waters Meet. Glen Leigh, section number two, again provides another entrance point to the waterfalls and as one might have guessed terminates at Waters Meet as well. Between Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh, lies section three, Highland Trail. Higland Trail, at a short .80 mile, provides the connector path between sections one and two, this giving us the loop trail we will be following. Waters Meet will serve as our half way point each day, as well as server as our daily lunch stop.

We will traverse the loop two times over the course of two days. One traverse will be done counterclockwise through the three sections and our hiking route on the second day will be done in the clockwise direction, through the same three sections. You will be amazed how hiking this trail, in two different directions, will provide you with dramatically different assessments of the same locations at two different times. We will take our time as we work our way down into the canyon and then back out, stopping to evaluate and carefully capture images at the falls that interest us (trust us, most of them are interesting).

Our image explorations will have us working long exposure and focus stacking compositions a number of times throughout the two days. You’ll find that our guides all have wonderful long exposure images in their portfolios, from the scenes that are present along Falls Trail and would to help you achieve similar results. We will spend time each evening reviewing our images and discussing processing approaches that work best with our newly captured images.

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  • Spring Colors Workshop
    2017-04-27 - 2017-04-30
    00:00 - 23:55


695 State Route 487, Benton, Pennsylvania, 17814, United States


Ricketts Glen State Park is a Pennsylvania state park on 13,050 acres (5,280 ha) in Columbia, Luzerne, and Sullivan counties in Pennsylvania in the United States. Ricketts Glen is a National Natural Landmark known for its old-growth forest and 24 named waterfalls along Kitchen Creek, which flows down the Allegheny Front escarpment from the Allegheny Plateau to the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. The park is near the borough of Benton on Pennsylvania Route 118 and Pennsylvania Route 487, and is in five townships: Sugarloaf in Columbia County, Fairmount and Ross in Luzerne County, and Colley and Davidson in Sullivan County.

Ricketts Glen's land was once home to Native Americans. From 1822 to 1827, a turnpike was built along the course of PA 487 in what is now the park, where two squatters harvested cherry trees to make bed frames from about 1830 to 1860. The park's waterfalls were one of the main attractions for a hotel from 1873 to 1903; the park is named for the hotel's proprietor, R. Bruce Ricketts, who built the trail along the waterfalls. By the 1890s Ricketts owned or controlled over 80,000 acres (320 km2; 120 sq mi) and made his fortune clearcutting almost all of that land, including much of what is now the park; however he preserved about 2,000 acres (810 ha) of virgin forest in the creek's three glens. The sawmill was at the village of Ricketts, which was mostly north of the park. After his death in 1918, Ricketts' heirs began selling land to the state for Pennsylvania State Game Lands.

Plans to make Ricketts Glen a national park in the 1930s were ended by budget issues and the Second World War; Pennsylvania began purchasing the land in 1942 and fully opened Ricketts Glen State Park in 1944. The Benton Air Force Station, a Cold War radar installation in the park, operated from 1951 to 1975 and still serves as airport radar for nearby Wilkes-Barre and as the Red Rock Job Corps Center. Improvements since the creation of the state park include a new dam for the 245-acre (99 ha) Lake Jean, the breaching of two other dams Ricketts built, trail modifications, and a fire tower. In 1999 Hurricane Floyd briefly closed the park and downed thousands of trees; helicopter logging protected the ecosystem while harvesting lumber worth nearly $7 million, some of which paid for a new park office in 2001.

The park offers hiking, ten cabins, camping (one of the two camping areas is on a peninsula in the lake), horseback riding, and hunting. Lake Jean is used for swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. In winter there is cross-country skiing, ice fishing on the lake, and ice climbing on the frozen falls. The Glens Natural Area has eight named waterfalls in Glen Leigh and ten in Ganoga Glen, these come together at Waters Meet; downstream in Ricketts Glen there are four to six named waterfalls. The park has four rock formations from the Devonian and Carboniferous periods, and is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. It was named an Important Bird Area by the Pennsylvania Audubon Society and is an Important Mammal Area too. Ricketts Glen State Park was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its Bureau of State Parks as one of "25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks".