adventures in the gorge

Summers here are glorious and humid, creating a vortex of increasingly unbearable heat. Write in the mornings when it’s cool, then escape. Grab the kids and follow the water.

We’ve been spending our summer weekends exploring and hunting stories. Down the mountain from our home lies a deep, protected gorge with a creek running through it. The trees are old, the creek is cold, and the wilderness is criss-crossed with aged dirt roads.

The gorge has a long history of logging, farming, and we’ve heard rumors of abandoned villages. We haven’t come across those yet, but we did find this structure.


It might have been a section of an old boiler (based on surrounding structures) or a possibly a brick oven. I prefer to think of it as an abandoned goblin lair, myself.

There are stories hiding everywhere in these woods!

In another section of the gorge, we came across the ruins of a castle. Okay, okay, not a castle, but a stone wall once built to border a farm long since invaded by forest. I have long dreamt of finding the ruins of a castle in the woods. Coming this close was a thrill.


Following a dirt road at the bottom of the gorge with some vague directions from Google maps, we fjorded the creek past a caved-in bridge and hiked along a quad trail to a covered bridge. Covered bridges are fairly common in our area, but we don’t often find them this far into the wilderness. Perhaps it was the missing bridge along the road to it which made it feel like a secret place.


There were three well-worn camp sites near the covered bride, and an excellent swimming spot for the kids beneath the bridge. It’s fun to hunt for trolls beneath the bridge and look up at the construction to see how they were built way back when.


Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to build a fort in the rafters of a covered bridge, tucked up from the road and sheltered just enough. This bridge, nestled into the woods with the mountains towering on either side, brought that urge back with renewed vigor.

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Are you taking breaks from your writing to have an adventure or two this summer?


lines on an old garage

There is a ramshackle garage, not far from here, tucked into a fortress of overgrown weeds. Its roof is slanted, the paint crumbling. The garage door is painted with an artist’s imaginary car. It waits like an old friend, cheering passerby. Lines bisect it, the slats of its canvas, but the effect is unchanged. It could rumble to life at a moment’s notice with the tiniest dusting of magic.

places long-forgotten


The building appeared abandoned. To be sure, she knocked on the door with a vined hand and waited. No one answered but the rustle of the spiders who had already taken up residence, the whisper of termites in the walls, and the sad sigh of places long-forgotten.

She pushed open the door and looked around. The floor had caved in, decomposing into a banquet of nutrients for green and growing things. The roof had begun to crumble, allowing slips of sunshine and pockets of rain to come through. She sent up vines to widen the holes as she planted moss children and nanny mushrooms into the rotten floor.

Her work complete, she slipped outside again, her footsteps soft in the meadow without. She left little trace, but anyone passing the homestead would know Nature had been there, and took it for her own.