On a side trip from our main hiking destination we headed to Allamuchy State Park for a quick day hike around a lake. The landscape changed quite frequently on the overly flat trail through the woods. The changes in landscape were a nice surprise that kept the otherwise normal trail interesting. I especially enjoyed the fern-filled section near the end of our trail. It feels like you are totally engulfed in the plants while standing off the side of the trail and the green overwhelms your vision.
Hiking on the Appalachian Trail, even for a short time, is something special. Knowing that it extends so far in either direction just makes it feel more… adventurous. Although I haven’t hiked it in very long distances, the sections I’ve gotten to do have been incredible and inspiring. Camping at an AT shelter and getting to mingle with those few, lucky thru hikers of the year is another experience that I treasure. Just rubbing shoulders and sharing stories with them makes me feel a little more a part of something I hope to accomplish myself.
A welcome cool breeze blows over the raised platform overlooking the mountains of northwest New Jersey just before sunrise on a Tuesday morning. The clouds dance in the sun’s pastel painting, illuminating the rolling hills in a soft glow. It doesn’t feel like the state known for farmland and suburban sprawl. It feels lonesome in a good way. The morning has given me energy that seems to only come with the joy of nature’s beauty and its unique scenery. At this point it feels like I could do anything.
Being in the woods and hiking is one of my favorite things for several reason, but I feel like I think better while I’m hiking. I can process my thoughts while feeling like I’m part of the natural world around me. I feel more in tune with my surroundings, and I notice things like this guy poking his head out of the water as I walked by. He posed for quite a while as I quietly crept around him for a better shot. When I decided to stand up to go to the other side he took his opportunity to dive to the safety of camouflage under the water.
While in DC I went to my favorite museum there, the Hirshhorn. They feature modern and contemporary art and continually change their exhibitions so every time I visit there is something new and exciting. Dan Flavon’s untitled (to Helga and Carlo with respect and affection) was on display in a large lower-level floor by itself. The piece itself was amazing, but the idea behind it is even more interesting. It remains mostly the same when shown in different spaces but it changes to fit the room in which it is displayed. It adapts to its surroundings. And the light is soft so you can look at it but once you exit that room and look at anything else it takes a while for your vision to catch up and compensate for the extreme color difference. It was a properly inspiring visit, as always.
I spent the weekend in Washington, DC, and I had a lot of plans to go around and see some of my favorite places. That didn’t really work out because work had me extremely busy and it was pouring rain one night. Before I left I did get to take a stroll around the Mall up past some of the memorials I rarely visit. I haven’t been to the Lincoln Memorial in a long time, but it was just as crowded and popular as always. This shot makes me think of the calm, respectful idea that was intended for the monument.
It’s fun to look at things from a new perspective sometimes. This view of Parvin Lake that I’ve looked at so many times while the sun goes down seems like a whole new place in this shot from low to the ground at the dam. It’s always one of the best places for sunset and great for a late day run around the water. I’m always glad to find a viewpoint that I haven’t noticed before and feel like this place still has some surprises for me.
Passing through places I’ve never been I often find unexpected areas of beauty that lead to quiet reflection. This barn scene at Capitol Reef National Park was a place that caught me off guard on a day where I needed some time to think about myself and why I had been feeling the way I was. The serene meadow surrounded by the red rock cliffs was a perfect place for a time out among the horses and light traffic before heading up into the canyon for more adventures.
Sometimes landscaping can work well in city parks. In this case the water streaming over these rocks into the pond in the center of the park seemed like a whole different place than the park itself. The rest of the park is grassy hills and trees around the water while these imported rocks make it feel like you’re in the middle of hike in the mountains. It’s rare that I like man-made displays like this but it was nice to see one that seemed more natural than fake.
I’ve grown accustomed to leaving New Jersey at the start of summer, and, even though it hasn’t been too long since my last visit to the southwest, it get harder every time I return. The red rocks of southern Utah remain the place I desire most often, and my plans to return have already begun to materialize. The next couple of months have already planned themselves out, and then it’s time to go back to where the sun is hot and the humidity is not. It might be a long summer on the East Coast, but sooner than I think I’ll be back among the landscapes of the desert.