Mount Campion is the highest point on the Mainland of Second Life. Sitting on a high ridge of hills running along the north side of Heterocera, it is home to the Mount Campion National Forest, a series of high granite steps that reach almost to the mountain’s green peak.
As the name suggests, the rocky steps and plateaus are home to a rich forest of fir, cedar, maple, birch, beech and more, tall and short, all casting their boughs over paths and trails that wind up and and down between their trunks and over the rocks, shaded from view above by the umbrellas of green held aloft by the trees.
Designed by Marz (Mar Scarmon), the forest is home to many secrets. Scattered through the woodlands, for example, are houses and cabins. Some stand at the side of the tracks that wind through the park, others within their own gardens, or with gardens close by; some appear as mountain cabins, others are more whimsical in form. All are picturesque when caught under the right light and from the right angle, and most sit at places where the paths through the forest may fork or reveal a new route through trees or between rocks or up to higher elevations or down to some below.
But the houses are not the park’s biggest attraction; that take the form of a series of tunnels and caverns that sit beneath the steps and plateaus of the park, awaiting discovery just behind the cliffs and rock faces.
There are many ways into – and out of – this network of tunnels and caverns. Some sit at the edge of the park’s paths or open unexpectedly onto them. Others lie at the end of trails that break away from the main paths that at first seem to just meander through the trees. Some even lie behind doors found at the bottom of gardens or within the cellars of houses.
It is only once you’re within the caves that you really appreciate how cleverly they have been put together. Using mesh kits and prims, Marz has built a convincing and consistent set of tunnels and caverns that rise and fall, divide and come together, run to dead ends or to walls that hide hidden turns and climbs up or down. Natural in form, many have the look of having been shaped by the passage water (and water can still be found in some). They are lit throughout by flickering torches, while sign posts – the same as those found along the trails outside – sometimes offer suggestions on directions to take whilst wandering through them.
Such is the design, just when you think you’ve seen all there is, something new pops-up, such as an unexpected opening that leads out to another part of the paths and tracks of the forest. Some of these can be surprising because they st close to another opening, but managed to pass notice whilst hopping in and out of that other tunnel. Others emerge from the network on a precipitous ledge that in turn reveals itself to be another path that clings to the vertical faces of the the mountain faces – paths that might otherwise be missed in a too-hurried walk around the park’s trails and paths.
And therein lies another part of the magic with this design: the paths wind and meander, rise and fall, drop through canyons, disappear into tunnels then reappear – but ultimately they all link together, offering multiple ways to explore the park and appreciate all of its many touches – the hidden paths, the statues, and so on, and also its features – gardens, houses, tunnels and caverns. All of which makes for a rich and rewarding visit.
With thanks to Elora via Annie Brightstar
- Mount Campion National Forest (Campion, rated Moderate)