OIL CREEK TOWNSHIP, Venango County — Native Americans created triangular stone temples, pagans celebrated the harvest holiday of Mabon and at Oil Creek State Park, area residents celebrated the first day of fall with a three-mile hike to the Benninghoff Overlook.
“It is the time of change,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Environmental Education Specialist Ivy Kuberry said during Tuesday’s hike. Kuberry provided the hikers with information on how different cultures throughout history have celebrated the Autumnal Equinox.
Kuberry explained that the equinox marks when both the day and night are exactly the same length. She told the group that if they were hiking along the equator, it would seem as if the sun followed the equator itself.
The Autumnal Equinox is the first day of fall. To many cultures it has significance in terms of farming and religion. According to Kuberry the Mayans actually built their cities along the path of the two equinoxes and solstices.
For Kuberry, and many area residents, the equinox simply represents the time for changing out shorts for sweaters. “I finally get to wear jeans,” said Kuberry.
This was one of the last hikes where those enjoying nature will get to see the vibrant green colors associated with the spring and summer cycles of the trees.
Kuberry made sure to point out the beginning of transformations that are associated with the changes in seasons. “It’s been really dry recently,” said Kuberry. “When it’s dry the leaves will start changing early.”
Kuberry also told the group that with the equinox comes mushroom season. Kuberry informed the hikers of the different types of mushrooms that grow in Oil Creek State Park, and how long they are ripe for. Kuberry’s favorite mushroom is the Sheep’s Head Mushroom. Unfortunately for mushroom lovers, Sheep’s Head Mushrooms are only “in bloom” for a couple of weeks.
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