By Joe Sebastiani, Seasonal Program Team Leader
My wife and I try to explore new parks and preserves near where we live. We always seem to find somewhere new to visit if we just look. The other day, my wife suggested we go to a Chester County Park that I had never heard of, Wolf’s Hollow. This park is a big baby…what I mean is, it is only 2 years old, and it is 569-acres, which is big enough to take a really long hike.
We walked 4.4 of the 7.9 miles of trails available at the park. In fact, the trails are only open for hiking. Hikers don’t need to worry about horses or bicyclists here! We saw only one other hiker during our 4.4 miles…and it was a Sunday! The yellow and orange trails made for a really nice loop. The most amazing things about this park are the natural features along the Octoraro Creek. As you walk the yellow trail, you are around 600-feet in elevation (much higher than anywhere in Delaware!) looking far down a gorge to the creek below. The forested hills are clothed in mature oak-hickory forest with Red, Chestnut, White, Black, and Scarlet Oaks predominating, with Pignut and Mockernut Hickory scattered around. The forest is extensive and with the leaves off the trees, you could easily see the surrounding landscape.
Very well marked trails provided an easy hiking experience for the first-time visitor, and we could concentrate on enjoying our surroundings instead of trying to figure out where we were all the time. Although we weren’t far from home near Kennett Square, there were plants and animals here that we don’t see near us. One was the Chipmunk. We saw several scurrying around the rocks, nervously eying us as we passed. Also, we saw lots of Yellow Birch in one particular cove. I associate this tree with mountains further north, not Chester County. In fact, you feel like you are on an Appalachian ridge while walking the yellow trail.
Our visit took place the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It was chilly and even snowed during our hike, which was a nice touch. Wildlife and birds were mostly quiet that day, but this is the kind of place that looks like it is oozing with birds during spring, summer, and fall. Take a trip 1/2-hour from Delaware to this wonderful new park and enjoy a quiet hike along the Octoraro gorge and through some Chester County history.
Do you have any places that you would recommend? I will post ideas of places to go that are in or near Delaware in this blog occasionally.