In July 2020, we made our first visit to Mount Campion National Forest, the marvellous setting created by Marz (Mar Scarmon) around the highest peak on Second Life’s mainland continent of Heterocera (see: The climbs and caves of Mount Campion in Second Life).
Rising towards the peak of the mountain and encompassing the razor back ridge that runs down from it, the forest is a stunning place of beauty, both above ground and underneath it – for within the granite cliffs and high steps of rock runs a network of tunnels and caverns that is so natural in look and feel, it is possible to imagine them having been formed in ages past by the passage of water through the rocks.
Fast forward six months, and a lot has changed for the forest. It has expanded mightily, actually tripling in size to just shy of (at the time of writing) 100,000 square metres – that almost 25 acres, for those who prefer to work in “old money”. It runs through three region of Heterocera to offer Second Life users both the opportunity for extensive out-door exploration and the opportunity to actually rent a property within it and fully appreciate its splendour.
I know this because Marz recently invited Caitlyn and I back to the forest for a further visit – and truth be told, I’m writing this article between our bouts of wandering the paths and trails above ground and exploring the further caves and tunnels that lie beneath them.
We started our return visit – on Marz’s recommendation – at the high plateau of Roscommon Ridge to the north-west of Mount Campion. Here can be found numerous paths and trails – the main ones of which lead the way past some of the rental properties to be enjoyed here, so if visiting, do avoid trespassing and invading people’s privacy.
The plateau is also home to small lakes among the trees, together with fast-flowing streams – perhaps fed by the thaw (a small corner of the plateau still exhibits snow) as much as by the lakes. A short walk from the landing point is an entrance to the cave system under the plateau, one that includes a neatly tucked away rentals vendor providing details on the houses available for rent within the forest.
Through the considered use of many of the same landscaping elements found within the “original” Mount Campion setting: flora, tracks, landscaping elements, etc., Marz has layered the entire forest, from Camion through the south-western corner of Highflyer and then through Spinach, with a sense of continuity of featuring and setting that is both natural and which encourages explorers to continue their wanderings.
Those who do keep a an eye out for the unusual when exploring may come across one or two little surprises along the way, such as a Sasquatch enjoying a stroll along the banks of a stream or the outhouse that have been placed for the … convenience … of visitors, and more, both above and underground (I’m not going to give all that we found away!).
As well as the Roscommon Ridge additions, I believe I’m correct in saying the cave complex in Campion has been extended, with a series of tunnels and caverns that are partially flooded (if these were around in July 2020, then silly me for missing them on our fist visit!). Find the right way into these, and it is possible to take an air mattress from a rezzer and paddle through the waterways – just mind the waterfall that marks one of the routes out!
The goal of the National Forest is to have a public place of scenic beauty that encourages exploration. A secondary goal is to renew interest in mainland SL. The National Forest has the highest mountain in SL (Mount Campion), miles of scenic trails, forests, canyons, and of course the largest connected cave system in SL. I hope you will visit us again, I am giving you the location for one of our newer areas, but again the areas are all adjacent and connected by trails and caves so I hope you will roam around. Thanks and I look forward to seeing you there.
– Marz (Mar Scarmon)
A captivating beauty spot since Marz took it on, Mount Campion Natural Forest was always a worthwhile visit, and this expansion has increased its attractiveness, offering multiple reasons for a visit. As noted above, at the time this piece was written, Caitlyn and I hadn’t completed our own explorations – so maybe we’ll see you there!