So often, I tend to over-plan a trip. I’ll download and pour over countless maps, line up every possible stop on the way, and research my destination until I’ve taken every element of surprise out of the adventure. Actually, at that point it’s not even an adventure – it’s more like a script. This trip to McConnells Mill State Park was the opposite of that.

The weekend was filled with wonderful moments with good friends in Sewickley, PA. I was in town to celebrate the first communion of my Godchild Harper, but we also enjoyed some youth T-ball and softball games, wonderful meals, good conversations, and a few drinks on the porch in absolutely perfect weather.

Monday, I was left with a free day – the town of Sewickley went back to school and work, and I called up other friends just a few miles up the road in Baden, PA. Katie and Paul cooked me a hearty breakfast and suggested hiking at the McConnells Mill State Park. It was a fantastic suggestion. The images for this slice were all taken with an iPhone 6 and run through the Instagram Sierra filter, with added vignette and tilt-shift.

The loop that I chose started at a covered bridge near the mill, followed Slippery Rock Creek to the next bridge, and then returned to the mill. The whole while, I was surrounded by rushing water, towering rock walls, fly-fishermen, and tons of boulders. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website describes the park, “McConnells Mill State Park, in Lawrence County, encompasses 2,546 acres of the spectacular Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. Created by the draining of glacial lakes thousands of years ago, the gorge has steeps sides and the valley floor is littered with huge boulders and is a national natural landmark. A gristmill built in the 1800s is open for tours. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, year-round.”

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