McConnells Mill State Park

An autumn chill was in the air and the rains from the previous night eliminated any remaining leaves from the trees. With the leaves on the ground rather than on the trees this is the start of winter. Nature and ecology begin to slow down and inch toward hibernation at Hell Hollow. A trickle of water moves through Hell Run before the falls, the stream has a greater flow underground than above ground here. Moving down the one mile path towards Hell Hollow Falls reveals a recent geological creation. Situated on the glacial moraine the stream cuts a narrow slot canyon through through the soft rock. The canyon acts as a funnel collecting, narrowing and speeding the stream as it moves towards the falls.

Just above the falls is a deep basin that collects the water before dropping over the ten foot drop. The water slowly spins and churns the freshly fallen leaves in concentric circles. The pattern is subtle, mesmerizing and may go unnoticed to the casual observer. A slower pace walking through the hollow is revealing. Water churns over the broad falls making the wet rock appear black. A constant light mist generated by the falls mixed with a mud coating on all of the rocks makes for a slippery situation. This situation may have lent its name to the Slippery Rock Creek. After the falls, the stream enters the Slippery Rock Gorge and flows over another series of small rock shelves to the larger creek below.

The original gorge is thought to have formed in a single geological event 140,000 years ago and further eroded to what we see today during the last glaciation over 23,00 years ago. The resulting events left rocky cliffs, outcroppings and walls throughout the gorge. Several other waterfalls careen over the cliff walls providing hidden retreats high along the cliff walls. The rocks and crevasses provide a perfect place for repelling and climbing and relaxing.

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