Excursion Report — 26 January 2018
By Brian Richards
A walk with Drew Feight, Eli Allen, and Derrick Parker from Horsley’s above the bank of Upper Twin—BM 731’ASL—to the Cooper monument on the ridge, inching like bugs on a wall up the final hump at 1160, then north through the saddle to the isolate point overlooking the creek where rises the eight-foot obelisk: an odd, fluted cap at its apex, in relief the names of Clay Henry (1858-1913) and Mary Cooper, whose dates are not on offer. On its south side, the standard warning to the passing stranger, of whom there might have been a few in the intervening years. I was one, passing by, shocked to stumble on it in search of a plausible path from my cabin on Tucker’s Run to Buckhorn Ridge.
Upper Twin’s passage down to the Ohio floodplain—800’ in eight miles—is baffled by the folds in Buckhorn, time and again forced to double back around a spur, so that it runs in most every direction in its course, though inexorably down hill south and east as the ridge allows. The obelisk overlooks a vertiginous drop to the creek, running at that point east so that the looming north face of the ridge blocks the winter sun. Despite a week of warm temps, the creek is blank white ice, its banks above crowded with shade-loving hemlocks, green so deep it’s black.
On the trail down, a climax beech with a hole wide enough to wiggle through rotted from near the root to ten feet up, posted by two pillars of living wood, still bearing the weight of all that spread above.
As we started up the hill, Teresa (I remember her getting off the school bus—now she’s a gray-haired matron) came out to offer advice about finding the way; as I was getting into my pickup, Donny Horsley stopped on the road to growl “What the hell you into now?” It was good to see him up and around.