Monday, November 05, 2007

Sideling Up to Geology

A couple of weeks ago we were in Western Maryland where the hills roll from one into the other, and roads do the best they can going up, over, and through. It's all beautiful country, but there's one brief section that makes you say, "Wow, look at that!"

Just beyond Hancock, I-70 turns north into Pennsylvania, and I-68 begins its westward track. Old U. S. 40 follows the same route but then veers sharply south to climb the side of a hill, and then does a switchback down the other side. It's clear that when the old National Pike was built, it was no match for Sideling Hill.

Fast forward a few decades to the building of I-68. Engineers blasted through and created an easy, curvy run for the new interstate highway. And in the process, exposed a remarkable geologic formation that clearly illustrates the immense powers that formed our Appalachians. Thanks to the construction, you can see how the rock layers were lifted, curved, and eroded away over the millenia to the gentle mountains we know today.
Thank goodness they didn't just blast through and leave it at that. In the visitor's center there is an informative display that explains how Sideling Hill was formed as well as a three story-high timeline of the earth's formation. Outside, stairs let you walk up to the rock formations, and a pedestrian bridge across the interstate - complete with "camera ports" that let you photograph without having to thread your lens through the protective wire fence - gives you a remarkable view.

This is one example of your highway taxes not only at work, but doing something very worthwhile.


Mary said...


OH, I have been away from your blog for too long. We drove from NC to MD via 85 last weekend and I love western Maryland for the views and how the roads are carved into the mountainsides so neatly.

Many of your photos in recent posts won't open for me. I guess it's a problem on my side.

I need to put you on my blogroll so I don't miss you for a long time!


Peg Silloway said...

Mary, your blog says it all - I'm amazed you have had time to write, much less read other blogs!

Thanks for letting me know there's a problem with the photos. If you can't see some of them, others may have an issue, too. I'll see what I can find out.

Thanks for visiting - when I have time to read any, your blog is one of four that I go to, and it's always worth while.

Mary said...

I'm back for a visit and realized I meant to say I-81. Oh, well.

Your photos are fine now! I think our network at the office was acting quirky when I commented before. All is well so don't worry.

And, oh, it's 12:08 a.m. and I'm reading blogs. Not good. But I'm catching up. Seems my body is telling me to be IN BED at 9:30 p.m. on week nights. It's been good.

Kelley Dupuis said...


Thanks for the nice comment you left on my blog about self-publishing. Nice to know there are some like-minded people out there. By the way, I'm not far from you geographically. I'm in D.C. Solidarity forever...

Kelley Dupuis

Peg Silloway said...

Kelley, the more I learn about publishing, the more I'm sure that taking charge of the process myself is the way to go. In my checkered recent past I've done IT project management, so pulling all the pieces of a book together is entirely in my scope.

Thanks for visiting. Yep, the Baltimore/DC area is full of creative people.