One thousand feet up and 1000 feet down. From the parking space of of County Line Road between Westmoreland and Fayette Counties to the top of Birch Hill and the rock outcropping at the summit is nearly 900 vertical feet. The clearly marked trail to the rocks meanders around shallow saddles and rises through a maturing forest with little undergrowth and a clear forest floor. Closer to the summit, rocks begin to dot the ground. A cloud scrapes across the top of the summit encapsulating the high point in an eerie early morning fog. The misty shroud blocks any vista that would normally greet visitors at the top. Wild signs abound and are contrasted by signs of human activity. Fresh fox scat is scattered about the cliff faces. A small weathered stone shelter comprised of the greenish mossy rocks present could provide a redoubt during inclement weather.
One thousand feet down in the valley below is Roaring Run. The mountain stream is lined with trails that were formerly railroad grade to tranport lumber out of the forest to mills below in the town of Champion. In late September the creek is running slow but steady. The green leaves of the trees lining the creek filter the melancholy light through the faded green leaves as autumn is rapidly approaching. Soon Roaring Run will freeze in it’s place waiting for spring to funnel the mountain snow melt to a larger watershed west of the Appalachian Mountains.