After my harder than average hike last weekend, I decided to take it easy this time and head out to a state park I had heard about called Greenwood Furnace. Nestled in the heart of Rothrock State Forest, this park offers hiking trails, a small sand beach, and several historical features.
As I said, I was taking it easy. So, I did a loop that ended up being slightly more than a mile over some relatively easy terrain. This would be a nice hike for kids, especially since it goes right past the lake. Basically, I took Chestnut Spring Trail to Dogtown Trail, hopped onto Viantown and followed that to Lakeview Trail, which ultimately got me back to my car. It was a pretty hike, with lots of wild black raspberries for trail snacks along the way. Dogtown Trail was really wide and grassy, so it would be ideal for hiking with a group. Lakeview Trail was predictably busy with people enjoying the view or taking a stroll to get away from the beach for a while.
The main feature of the park, and likely the reason it exists, is the historical aspect. Greenwood Furnace was a large iron production center in the 1800s. When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. There is iron nearby, limestone to get lime that separates the impurities from the iron, and huge amounts of timber to make into the charcoal that fueled the furnaces. Rather than transporting any of those three key ingredients, they were at the producers’ disposal. All that’s left of the furnace is the stone chimney, but that’s still pretty impressive. It was restored to its original state by the CCC, and photos at the interpretive area in front of the furnace give you a feel for what the area must have been like in the 1800s. One thing I found really beautiful about it was how much the forest has regenerated in the last 100 years. Part of why the furnace shut down was dwindling timber supplies. Hiking through a mature forest then realizing it didn’t exist 100 years ago really makes you appreciate how amazing nature is at bouncing back.
My day was capped off with a fun sighting of a Baltimore Oriole fledgling begging for food. this little one could fly pretty well, but its father was still bringing it some of the juicy blackberries I mentioned earlier. The fledgling just sat there looking grumpy and occasionally calling and flicking its wings in a typical begging display. It was a good little reminder that there’s always something to see if you keep an eye and ear out.
This park was a lot of fun and will definitely be worth another visit. There was a blacksmith shop that was already closed when I got there but I’d love to check out sometime. Also, the trails link to longer ones in Rothrock, so a longer hike will be in order when I’m feeling ambitious again. All in all, one of my favorites so far!