|Kali on the Northern Delaware Greenway paralleling Brandywine Creek|
The Brandywine Creek rises in the far western Philadelphia suburbs and flows southward through a still-bucolic valley that was home to the Wyeth family of artists and to many of the very wealthy duPonts, many of whose estates remain intact. Therefore, while the suburbs and the exurbs press in from the east, the Brandywine Creek valley acts like a green dam, holding development at bay. Of course, the valley has long been used for industrial and agricultural pursuits, so it's far from pristine, but much of it is lovely.
Delaware's Brandywine Creek State Park, just south of the Pennsylvania border, was developed from a dairy farm formerly owned by the duPonts. The park was subsequently enlarged through land donations by the Woodlawn Trustees, a foundation that permanently set aside open space in 1901 (1901!) thanks to the beneficence of its founder, a wealthy cotton tycoon. The Woodlawn lands are also open to the public and are laced with pedestrian and equestrian trails.
|Massive Asian bittersweet vines (Celastrus orbiculatus) on a woodland edge|
Nevertheless, the day was perfect, and the woods were beautiful. We started our walk up the valley of Rocky Run, the stream that had drawn us here in the first place. The creek may be of high quality, but its valley was nothing special - a typical rocky Piedmont upland stream. The path traced a line a few dozen feet parallel to, and a bit uphill from, the stream proper, so we actually only got occasional glimpses of the water. After a mile or so, the trail crossed the creek, affording us some views.
|Trunks, roots and boulders on the Rocky Run streambank|
|Rocky Run viewed upstream at the trail crossing|
|The woods uphill of Rocky Run|
|An oak engulfing a gneiss boulder|
|American beech (Fagus grandifolia) leaves shot through with sunlight|
|A casual stone wall in the woods|
|Gneissic bedrock and Christmas fern|
|Botanic love that dare not speak its name - intimacy between a tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and an American beech (Fagus grandifolia)|
|A stone wall on the former duPont dairy farm|
Late in the afternoon, the blue skies disappeared as a cold front approached, accompanied by clouds and significantly cooler temperatures. The weather was telling us it was time to leave. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day.
|Kali crossing a trail bridge over a small Brandywine Creek tributary on the way back to the car|