The Lower Susquehanna River is graced with magnificent bluffs, reminiscent to me of the majestic bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in Illinois and Iowa. I draw the comparison between the two, not as a contrast, but as an epiphany highlighting the nature and geology of North America’s grand rivers. The Susquehanna and the Mississippi share this grandeur on different geologic terrain, rivers that have never or will ever meet, yet share so many of the great river qualities.
Ferncliff Wildflower Preserve, sadly, never reaches the shores of the Susquehanna, which defines the creation story of the land the preserve is on. However, when we reach the top of the recently designated white blazed trail, the whole picture falls into place, and it all makes sense. The view is magnificent and it tells the story of millions of years of development of the Susquehanna River and its bluffs.
The Bluebells, Paw Paw trees, Trilliums and the many other species continue the narrative of the biological evolution.
Ferncliff Wildflower Preserve is very remote and has limited parking (first come first serve) with a very narrow trail leading up to the top of the bluff. Along the top there are rocks to sit on. This place has a contemplative quality about it.
Active railroad tracks along the river
White bluebells! Interestingly alongside a red Trillium erectum, which in this general area are mostly white and even named Susquehanna Trillium because of their regional difference.
The only specimen of red Trillium erectum we saw in the whole preserve!
The white Mertensia, another genetic anomaly found here!