Small wonders of nature are a hiker’s best friend

A stand of red spruce at the Gaudineer Knob in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia is featured in the new PBS series “Travels with Darley.” AmeriCorps with the USFS/Kristopher Hennig photo
Robert Hudson WestoverSpecial to Valley NewsWhen looking at the Hope Diamond for the first time, visitors are not often impressed by its size – even for a rare diamond, it isn’t that big. What immediately impresses them is the sparkling magnificence and the hue of cobalt blue – its rarity.But this type of rare beauty isn’t just for diamonds. It very much applies to many amazing, smaller natural wonders in our vast national forests, grasslands, and public parks as well.The U.S. Forest Service knows many of these rare wonders, including the Natural Bridge in Virginia; Old Faithful in the middle of Yellowstone National Park and Methuselah, an ancient Bristlecone pine believed to be the oldest known tree, or living organism for that matter, on earth that resides remot
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