The Cross on The Hill Cameron County Echo 

The Cross on the Hill

Cameron County Echo

September is nearly half spent and the time for change has arrived in the Big Woods.  The chirping evening crickets escalating and the screething blue jays signal change is at hand. Birds are beginning to flock together preparing for their southward journey, and the elk are feeling their oats.  Leaves are not the vibrant green they were a month ago, and some leaves are showing hints of color; fall is in the air.

Mary and I along with various crew members have been wandering the back woods roads the past two weeks observing the elk.  There is a dandy 8x7 with his harem that we see on a regular basis near the mouth of Hicks Run.  Last week we rode down that way twice, and he and his harem of nine cows and calves could usually be found placidly feeding in the camp yards just before 555. The bull was licking his chops, herding  cows, and showing rut activity, which should peak during the next week.

 Now is the time to journey along 555 from Driftwood to Benezette in the wee hours of the morning or late evening.  While you might want to supplement your elk adventure with a trip to "the Cross on the Hill."

The beauty of God's creation stimulated a small group of believers to erect this interfaith memorial.  The cross is 13 feet high and 8 feet across and was erected at noon on August 27, 1990. A donation enabled the group to purchase an acre of land, and since the day the cross was erected, signs, wonders, and physical and spiritual healings have occurred.

The cross is located on Mt. Zion Road in Elk County and is about four miles from  downtown Benezette. If you are traveling from upcounty, go through St. Marys, travel 4.4 miles past the Kersey turnoff, and turn left onto Caledonia Road at the top of Byrnedale Hill. Travel the Caledonia Road 1.6 miles and turn left onto Mt. Zion Road. There is a veterans'  memorial and cemetery at this location. It is approximately two miles once you turn onto the Mt. Zion Road to the cross, which will be located on your left. The road turns to dirt, and the cross's location is marked by two small wooden signs located on each side of the road.  Additional signs indicate the cross is a gift of love for all faiths, and all are welcome from dawn to dusk.

If you are going to access the cross from Benezette, you need to drive 8 tenths of a mile toward Medix Run on Route 555. Turn right onto Gray Hill Road when you reach the Mountain Top Distillery. From this location it is 3.3 miles to the cross.

To aid the elderly and those in wheelchairs, an interfaith walkway was begun in April 2014 and completed on July 16, 2014. The brick walkway received main support from the Medix Run Lodge and the A.O.H. DuBois Chapter.  The walkway is constructed of bricks, and many of these bricks are inscribed with names memorializing loved ones. Some debt remains, and if you are interested in memorial bricks, there is information at the site concerning this; they are $50 each.

The walk from the road to this cross location is approximately 80 yards.  The cross has a gorgeous outlook of the Spring Run Valley.  If you are so inclined, there are seven biblical stations placed along the brick walkway depicting a scene from scripture out of iron.  The metal stations were made by inmates of the disciplinary barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

 The cross has become a popular site for a variety of services including weddings, healing services, and meditations; no charges are involved. If you are in the area on an elk adventure, you should consider visiting  this beautiful sight. If you are lucky you might even hear a bull elk bugle near this location.

You be careful out there.


Wandering Aimlessly

By:  Phil Burkhouse

If your elk adventures take you up to the Fork, be on the lookout for two unusual guests to Cameron County:  Great Egrets.  Several times over the summer months sightings of these large white wading birds have been reported along the Driftwood Branch between Emporium and Sinnemahoning.  Several people thought they were albino Great Blue Herons, but their solid white plumage, yellow beak, and black legs identify them as Great Egrets.  They are unusual in our area but do sporadically disperse into Pennsylvania and points north during summer months. Mary and I have been seeing them in the First Fork stream about a mile above Sinnemahoning. The old road slopes down onto Route 872 at this location, and there is a camp on the lift side of the road and also a camp across the creek .  I hope you get to see them if you are down that way.

 Last Week's question concerned the upcoming Youth Waterfowl Day.  Youth hunters must be licensed junior hunters ages 12-15.  In addition, all waterfowl and migratory game bird hunters must have a Pennsylvania Migratory Game Bird License obtainable from any license issuing agent.  Waterfowl hunters 16 or older are also required to have a federal duck stamp. So the youth hunters 12-15 do not need to purchase a federal duck stamp  Your new question concerns one of the organizations supporting the cross on the Hill. I mentioned earlier in the article the A.O.H. DuBois Chapter was a major supporter of this project. What does the abbreviation stand for? I did not have a clue as to what it meant, so your clue is the A stands for something quite old, and it might help if you are of Irish/Catholic descent.