Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hiking in northern New Jersey


Last week's Ramblers hike was led, in part, by me, even though I had never been there before - none of the leaders had. (Don't worry, we advertised it appropriately.) We hiked nearly 14 miles in Norvin Green State Forest, which proved to be more scenic than I expected. The terrain was very similar to Harriman State Park, to the north.

There were several scenic overlooks and one very modest waterfall. Most of my photos are of folks scrambling over rocks, not unlike this:


Monday, September 19, 2016

Long Island Dahlia Society


This past weekend we went out to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum while the dahlias were in bloom for some strolling and some high tea at the Hidden Oak Cafe. We weren't sure what the dahlias would be like (they're supposed to bloom in "August and September"), but they were quite magnificent.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Brooks and hills circular


Last week's Ramblers hike was a nice one through Harriman State Park, mostly in the woods. It avoided the most killer hills in the park ... but as you can see, there were some. But unlike some parts of Harriman, we didn't spend a lot of time on open, bare rock.

Of course, that meant fewer vistas, but we did look out at The Pulpit (where we lunched) and Claudius Smith's Den. We also passed Lake Sebago and followed a nice creek along the Stony Brook trail. All told, it was about 15 miles.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Strolling Trout Pond

Trout Pond

On our way out of the Hamptons, we stopped at Trout Pond to do a short hike, which ended up turning into a mushroom and birding walk, thanks to an abundance of both. We only did a short bit of the trail, which is part of the larger Hamlet to Hamlet trail system.

Of the mushrooms I can't say much, since really all I know is don't eat them unless you really know what you're doing. We saw a turkey up close. We had already seen quite a few turkeys at the Refuge, but those were very comfortable with people. This one, however, saw us and became quite skittish.

Even better was the eagle. We met a family that was having lunch, and they had trained their binoculars on something in a tree. It turned out it was an eagle holding a fish it had caught, just casually having lunch. They let us peer through their binoculars, but the bird was close enough you could see it with the naked eye.

And, of course, there is a pond, as seen above. From this angle it looks rather dramatic, but the other end is peaceful and lily-padded.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Morton Wildlife Refuge


This weekend I made my first trip out to the Hamptons to celebrate a birthday in Sag Harbor. While there, we went to the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge. J grew up visiting the refuge, and when she was a child they were often the only visitors there, but thanks to the boom in Hamptons tourism, it is now considerably busier. (And far too many folks are leaving birdseed, attracting rats and raccoons.)

We started at the visitor's center and hiked the 1.2-mile nature trail, where we saw quite a few birds - including a lot of not-at-all-shy turkeys. From there, we walked along Jessup's Neck, a spit of land stretching out into the bay, seeing more birds and an amazing number of shells. The spit is nearly two miles long, and while it is mostly flat, it is slightly challenging to walk on, as sand always is. It's a great hike for taking a little slowly and enjoying the details.

Bird photography generally requires a far better camera than I have, but the turkeys came in close enough for good pics. I leave you with this gobbler.