When everything is out of kilter — hugs and handshakes are out, masks and distancing are in— time in the woods can heal you.
Brodhead Watershed Association offers an armchair adventure to Targa Falls in Monroe County, Pa., via video (see below for links). Then, armed with trail information and a yen to get outdoors, hike to the falls yourself, remembering to keep at least 6 feet away from other hikers.
The hike to Targa Falls starts at the quiet cul-de-sac where Browns Hill Preserve begins. This hike is an out-and-back of about 3 miles, which includes rocky, steep terrain that may be wet.
The preserve is new enough that it has no sign, but the trail beyond a low-slung barrier is clear.
Head off onto this high ridge of conserved forestland between Cranberry and Brodhead creeks. Within a few minutes, you’ll cross the boundary into Paradise Price Preserve. The forest floor is thick with fallen trees, glacier-dropped boulders and rock fields.
Water is coursing everywhere. Unnamed runs meander down from the wetlands. Crossing and recrossing on mossy stepping stones, you’ll hear the roaring water getting closer, until the fresh mineral smell of rushing water hits you in the face. This is Targa Falls creating its own breeze.
You’ll see trout lilies, Quaker ladies, and violets in shades of yellow, white and lavender, many kinds of mosses and lichens, and false hellebore. Shadbush is in bloom, with spindly grey arms offering early bouquets.
If you can’t hike to Targa Falls right now, know that the creek flows and the waterfall roars, that nature rolls on and the woods are there, waiting — nature’s eternal, unbending bedrock.
• For the virtual hike, go to BWA’s YouTube channel at youtu.be/628znKweFaw. Thanks to Tom Gregory of Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau for the videography.
• Go to brodheadwatershed.org/gopoconos for information on Targa Falls as well as other hikes in the Get Outdoors Poconos series. The series is administered by Brodhead Watershed Association and supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.