Archive for the ‘Sourland Mountains’ Category
Paul Winter Image, from Internet
Where but Princeton would the best of music and the best of poetry meet in a sacred space, to further the preservation of priceless open land in our state? On Wednesday, October 10, the sublime smooth jazz of the Paul Winter Consort will weave around the powerful global poetry of Jane Hirshfield.
Each enhancing the music of the other, music as notes and words as notes will soar to the apex of Princeton University Chapel and beyond, beginning at 7 p.m.
Princeton University Chapel Image from Internet
The beneficiary of this unique event, followed by a Meet-the-Artists Reception and Signing at Firestone Library, is D&R Greenway Land Trust. The non-profit’s preservation and stewardship accomplishments began in 1989, tallying over 23 miles-and-counting in this, our most populous state.
Poets and students in our time have thrilled to the Paul Winter Consort’s poetic evocations at the Dodge Poetry Festival, all those years in Waterloo Village, and now and soon again, in Newark. Coleman Barks and Jane Hirshfield, both, have experienced Consort Magic integrated into their work (and that of ancient poet, Rumi, translated and evoked by Coleman.) At Waterloo, ‘the big tent’ seemed to levitate during these juxtapositions. In Princeton University Chape, as during Winter’s Solstice Rituals at St. John-the-Divine in Manhattan, apses and naves seem to surge with sacred waters, the venerable stones themselves seem to take on volume, as known yet always unexpected Consort tones surge and ebb around visitors.
Firestone Library Image from Internet
The Consort concert in the chapel begins at 7 p.m. The Meet-the-Artists Reception and Signing in Firestone Library takes place from 8:30 - 9:30.
This will be a night of the blending of paradigms, all for the cause of nature.
Tickets, supporting D&R Greenway’s Preservation and Stewardship Mission, may be phoned in at $!5 (Open Seating) and $35 (Reserved Seating) to Princeton University Ticketing. 609-2584TIX, or 258-48489 between 12 and 6. CDs and Books will be on sale at the evet. For $75 Reserved Seating, followed by the Meet-the-Artists Reception and Signing in Firestone Library, phone D&R Greenway at 609-924-4646. OK to leave message with credit card details and phone and address information.
Note, performance is in the Chapel off Washington Road, on the University Campus, not at D&R Greenway. Ticket information will be mailed upon receipt of funds. Checks are made out to D&R Greenway Land Trust and mailed to One Preservation Place, Princeton 08540.
Poet Jane Hersfield was graduated in Princeton University’s first class to welcome women. She describes herself, as a freshman, as “that entirely naive and deeply shy young woman.” Jane muses upon what her freshman self would have thought, had she been told that “I would be returning to read my poems in such a space, [University Chapel], let alone in the company of the transcendentally gorgeous Paul Winter Consort, whose music makes a chapel all on its own.”
Baffled, as are many of us, that “the acutely felt environmental awareness of spring 1970 remains still under-realized,” Jane expresses gratitude that Scott and Hella McVay and D&R Greenway are bringing this event into being.
“For me, [she focuses on] the awareness of the interconnection of all life on this planet, and the sense of responsibility that emerges from that awareness,” which Jane Hirsfield terms “polestar things.”
Paul Winter generously ‘piped’ D&R Greenways Poets of the Trail to the podium, when the Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail opened upon the land trust’s grounds in Greenway Meadows.
Never did his saxophone sound more sweetly than upon that golden evening, beneath century-old trees, with wind and birds on the wing as accompaniment. 48 poems await visitors on that trail, any time, whether or not D&R Greenway is hard at work in its 19th-century (Robert Wood Johnson’s) working barn. The evocative trail rises among stately sycamores, opens out into warm-season grasses. It curves along a gentle ridge from which the Sourland Mountains are visible, then turns and returns to an oak that could be the sister of the Merer Oak. The trail is punctuated with rustic benches for contemplation.
Jane Hirshfield’s Zen consciousness is right at home on the Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail in Greenway Meadows. Her voice and presence will lend new and unique echoes to the mellifluous notes rising from Paul Winter and his Consort.
As with his music with the whales, the cause of nature will be furthered in the chapel on October 10 - do join us!
HERE IS OUR OFFICIAL ENTIRE RELEASE:
Princeton University Chapel October 10 for D&R Greenway Fund-raiser
Paul Winter Consort and Poet Jane Hirshfield
Princeton, NJ – D&R Greenway Land Trust invites the public to hear Paul Winter, with his Consort, interweaving their iconic music with the soul-stirring words of poet Jane Hirshfield, on Wednesday, October 10. ‘Music and Poetry of the Earth’ will unfold in the Princeton University Chapel, beginning at 7 p.m. Jane Hirshfield’s books and the Consort’s CDs will be available for purchase after the performance. A meet-the-artists reception in Firestone Library will follow, from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Reception fees benefit the preservation mission of D&R Greenway Land Trust. [www.drgreenway.org – 609-924-4646]
Tickets for reserved performance seating, –which include the Meet-the-Artists Reception, where books and CDs will be signed, cost $75. Reservations are available directly through D&R Greenway Land Trust:(609) 924-4646. Credit cards are accepted for phone orders, or checks made payable to D&R Greenway Land Trust. For [non-reception] performance seating, ($35) and ($15) General Admission seating, call Princeton University at 609-258-9220. To order $35 and $15 tickets on-line: http://www.princeton.edu/utickets/, or arrange in person at the Frist Campus Center Ticket Office, Monday-Friday, from noon-6 pm.
‘Music and Poetry of the Earth’ is co-sponsored by the Princeton University Chapel, the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, and Scott & Hella McVay. Scott McVay is a co-founder of the Dodge Poetry Festival, where the Paul Winter Consort traditionally performs with poets. Winter and Hirshfield first performed together at the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival. Hirshfield will be a featured poet at the Festival at NJPAC in Newark, October 11 and 12.
Coming to Princeton is a natural for Jane Hirshfield, who graduated in Princeton University’s first class that welcomed women. Inspired by both Eastern and Western poetry, Hirshfield’s work utilizes a short form, hinging on a singular turning point or moment of arresting insight. “It is a pleasure and a privilege to join the Paul Winter Consort and broader community in support of D&R Greenway and its work in preserving and making available open space in central New Jersey,” says Hirshfield.
Paul Winter declares, “I am excited about performing in the magnificent chapel, with its magical acoustics.” The realm of this stellar musician has long embraced cultures and creatures of the entire earth, explaining his attunement D&R Greenway’s mission: “I have admired their work since I had the privilege of playing at the opening of the Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail there in 2010. I feel a deep resonance with this well-run organization’s efforts to preserve land in central New Jersey — more than 17,000 acres! My collaborations with the McVays go back to the ’70s, with our mutual interest in whales and poetry. This we have celebrated during twenty-five years of collaborations at the Dodge Poetry Festival.”
Paul Winter, Paul Winter Consort
Paul Winter credits the songs of the humpback whales for opening the door for the six-time Grammy-award winning Consort, in the late 1960s, to what he refers to as “the greater symphony of the Earth.” Since then, the extraordinary voices of whales, as well as those of wolves, eagles, elk, loon, and a score of other creatures have become part of the Consort’s celebrations, awakening people to the plight of endangered species. Winter’s tours and recording expeditions have taken him to fifty-two countries and to wilderness areas on six continents. The musician has traveled on rafts, dog sleds, horses, kayaks, tug-boats, and Land Rovers. The Consort’s new work, launched last spring, Flyways, celebrates the immense bird migration from Africa through the mid-East to Eurasia.
As artists-in-residence at the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, New York’s St. John the Divine, the Consort has for three decades presented annual Winter and Summer Solstice Celebrations, as well as the ecological liturgical work, Missa Gaia/Earth Mass. Winter has performed in major concert halls around the world, including Washington’s National Cathedral, the Grand Canyon and the Negev Desert.
Poet Laureate Kay Ryan describes Jane Hirshfield as “a writer who demonstrates in every possible way that this life matters.” During her twenties, she was a full-time student of Zen for eight years, three of them in a monastery in silence. She is featured, with W.S. Merwin, –recent U.S. Poet Laureate–, and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, in the PBS special, The Buddha. Hirshfield has authored nine collections of poetry; an anthology of women poets in praise of the sacred; and a group of essays on entering the mind of poetry, among other works. Jane Hirshfield is a powerful reader of poetry and interview subject. She has been featured in two Bill Moyers PBS television specials, Fooling With Words and Sound of Poetry. In 2012, Hirshfield was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
“Tree” from Given Sugar, Given Salt (2002), Jane Hirshfield
It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.
Even in this
you will have to choose.
That great calm being,
This clutter of soup pots and books –
Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.
The Princeton University Chapel
Completed in 1928, the Princeton University Chapel is the third largest university chapel in the world. The Tudor Gothic building underwent a $10 million restoration in 2000-2002. There are more than 10,000 square feet of stained glass, as well as wood carvings and stonework. The chapel is listed as one of the great acoustic spaces of the U.S. and Canada, by the American Choral Directors Association.
D&R Greenway Land Trust
Founded in 1989, the mission of D&R Greenway Land Trust is to preserve and protect a permanent network of natural lands and open spaces, creating conditions for a healthy and diverse environment. It provides the public with appropriate access to these lands, encouraging active lifestyles and a greater appreciation of the natural world. D&R Greenway Land Trust also works to inspire a conservation ethic, promoting policies, educational programs and partnerships that result in a public commitment to land preservation and stewardship. In its 23 years, the Land Trust has preserved 243 properties, or 17,126 acres, valued at over $360 million. For more information, visit www.drgreenway.org
Carolyn F. Edelmann, Community Relations Associate
D&R Greenway Land Trust
“In wildness is the preservation of the world”
Packet Nature Blog: NJ WILD: www.packetinsider.com/blog/nature/
Princeton Patch Post: The Nature of Princeton
“…unreconstructed and necessary wildness…” Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire
Enraged Osprey of Carnegie Lake, Brenda Jones
Michael Pollan in general, and his Botany of Desire, in particular, is one of those authors everyone means to read. I hear protestations of intention all the time, always tinged with a kind of wistfulness. Recently, Public Television gave people a visual taste of this man’s paradigm. For me, the visual alone never suffices.
I’ll go so far as to insist that Pollan is an author to re-read. His subject matter is so unexpected (apples and ‘cyder’, marijuana, tulips and potatoes) and his thinking so original. It’s worth taking Pollan in hand, even if you don’t give a fig about nature. Just for the privilege of journeying with him.
Fierce Flight (Great Blue Heron), Brenda Jones
And savoring his pithy phrases, such as “Plants are the true alchemists.” His lament that now, “It is as though nature is something that happens outside,… as if we are gazing at nature across a gulf.” As he sets out in a canoe in quest of Johnny Appleseed’s seminal (couldn’t resist) journeys, Pollan relishes trusting in the river to take him wherever he wants to go.
WILD DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
In my case, re-reading The Botany of Desire reveals a delicious (pun intended) emphasis upon the WILD.
Trenton’s Apple Bounty, cfe
People can and do tease me for prating of the WILD in New Jersey. In the first segment of The Botany of Desire, Pollan takes an even more unlikely tack — seeking the wild, as did Thoreau, through apples. One of his theses is that Appleseed’s success came because he was not peddling mere fruit, but ‘cyder’ to the pioneers.
West Windsor’s Apple Bounty — cfe
Michael sets the tone with phrases such as “A handful of wild apples came with me” (on his Johnny-Appleseed-Quest.) He insists that “sowers of wild seeds are to be prized.”
Cedar Ridge Preserve Meadow, cfe
Cedar Ridge Wild Mushrooms — cfe
Pollan laments that “we live in a world where the wild places where wild plants live are dwindling.” You’ve heard this line from me in ‘posts’ beyond counting, coupled with urgings to support your local land trusts, especially D&R Greenway, to preserve New Jersey’s wild remnants and to plant New Jersey Natives wherever we can.
Baldpate View, Ted Stiles Preserve, Brenda Jones
Let Michael define “the best of all possible worlds”: “WE’D BE PRESERVING THE WILD PLACES THEMSELVES.”
The next best possible world: “ONE THAT PRESERVES THE QUALITY OF WILDNESS ITSELF.”
Female Harrier Aloft, Pole Farm, Brenda Jones
Male Harrier, “The Grey Ghost”, in ice at Pole Farm — Brenda Jones
The generating thesis of NJ WILD is that the wild exists right in our own back yards:
Wild erupts with the whiff of fox along mown paths of The Griggstown Grasslands. This lovely lofty set of trails, with its compelling Sourlands and Watchung views, awaits but a mile or two north of me on Canal Road, before/beside Griggstown’s Causeway.
Fox Alert, Griggstown Grasslands, Brenda Jones
The wild surprised me last week In burgeonings of wildflowers, deep in the duff of the forest floor, on Bull’s Island in the Delaware. These petite fleurs lifted up the blinding waxy yellow of buttercups. 8 to 10 petals rayed out from yellow centers. These premature spring heralds were nevertheless inviting pollinators. On my hike, they seemed like pieces of eight flung onto the leaf-strewn forest floor.
Why call a delicate plant WILD? Because they arrived there on their own, blooming despite winter on the calendar, pushing through flood detritus that resembled the graphite dust of Thoreau’s pencils. A key quality of the wild is RESILIENCE — New Jersey specialty!
Sourland Mountain Rocks and Water, Brenda Jones
WILD in New Jersey, for me, requires Lenni Lenapes. The land was tended by these peaceful tribes, at least 10,000 years ago. Their vanished presence is palpable on many of my hikes, most especially among Sourlands boulders. Also on trails near Mountain Lakes House, and at Ringing Rocks just across Delaware at Upper Black Eddy. In each case, majestic boulders that render Stonehenge puny rest exactly where they were revealed by water wind and time, before time. The huge stones are frequently encountered in a massive ring. I FEEL Indian councils there, planning tribal actions for the season about to begin. Seasons which, for Lenni Lenapes, triggered travel either to or from hunting to gathering.
Mink at Play, Brenda Jones
In the Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh, the Lenapes convened with selected other tribes, before leaving central Jersey hunting grounds for Shore gatherings. This journey and the seasonal constellation of other indigenous peoples was triggered by natural phenomena. Spring’s took place when pickerel weed pierced still waters like arrows.
New Jersey’s Apple Bounty, cfe
Michael Pollan plants a wild tree in his own home garden. His hope - “that such a tree will bear witness to unreconstructed and necessary wildness.”
What can you do about wildness right now, as elusive winter gives way to spring?
Go in search of it.
Buy only native NJ species for your gardens.
Read Michael Pollan
well, you know….
REMEMBER, WILD IS ALL ABOUT HABITAT!
Rare Box Turtle, Camouflaged in Natural Habitat - Cedar Ridge cfe
Generously support D&R Greenway and other Land Trusts, preserving New Jersey’s wild wherever it exist.
Mute Swan, Brenda Jones
NJ WILD readers know me pretty well by now, all 1600 page-views of you per week. You know I have NO patience with developers, under any name. That New Jersey is my haven, and I’ll pay any price, bear any burden to bring her glories to the fore, well beyond our (three - unique) shores! That preservation is the name of the game, not only in our state. That local sustainable real food from real nearby farmers is the way to health and life as a state and as individuals. And so forth.
What you may not realize is that winter has become my favorite season. Partly because winter finally reveals the intense abstract beauty of New Jersey’s trees. Partly for winter’s subtleties — it’s a real challenge to find life and color in this season, which only renders nature’s vibrancy-for-all-seasons all the more spectacular.
I particularly cherish winter in New Jersey preserves. Rabbit tracks leading me a merry chase in new-fallen snow in Plainsboro Preserve. Moss blinding as patches of green sequins alongside my favorite Sourland Mountain Trail, off Greenwood Avenue, even in January. Bluebirds swirling around my head and shoulders on the grassy northern reaches of Griggstown Grasslands last Monday. In fact, at Plainsboro and Griggstown Grasslands, my friend and I could hardly hear ourselves whisper “bluebird!” over their merry insistent chattering song.
Bluebird, Brenda Jones
Now, as new hip enters its 13th week of miraculous healing, I’ve returned to the Marsh, as in Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown. This time, I could walk on my own, with the trekking poles - not lean on my long-suffering, never-complaining friend’s right arm. This time, I could walk not only one edge of Spring Lake (named by the Lenni Lenapes for the spring which formed it), but circumnavigate the lake. We were out so long and mesmerized by so many signs of winter life, that we returned actually sunburnt. In February.
(This warmth, while easing my recovery, never ceases to alarm me for the sake of glaciers, polar bears and corals, among other natural phenomena. If it’s twenty or so degrees warmer than usual now, how is it going to be around here in August?)
Even so, I can’t pretend I am not relishing benevolent days in the woods.
Spring Lake was literally awash in winter gifts. Regal mute swans seemed to pose in a perfection of light, as we began to hit our stride. A lone gull floated like a bathtub toy, accented by irresistible coots, whose tiny white beaks never seem large enough to capture, let alone gulp aquatic foods. An elusive raft of ducks had the elegance and elusive ways of ring-necks. Between their fast-swimming-away shyness and the bird books’ admitting “ring nearly impossible to see”, we could not confirm that guess. Home again, Sibleys in hand, it’s very likely we were granted ring-necked ducks, but we shall never know.
Wood Duck, Brenda Jones
Color accents impossible to believe among the almost funereal array of coots were the glowing wood ducks. Kindly men of the Marsh, Clyde Quin and Warren Liebensperger, rigorously tend to wood duck and bluebird nests each year, –raising the boxes, tallying hatchlings, cleaning them when breeding is over, and putting them back in place in time for boxes to make up for a serious deficit of sturdy hollow old tree trunks. I don’t know whether ‘our’ Picasso-esque wood ducks are Clyde’s and Warren’s summer residents, or simply passing through. It doesn’t really matter. The wonder is the privilege of “woodies”, right in the middle of Trenton, on a winter’s day.
Nuthatch with Seed, Brenda Jones
We were mightily enlivened, not only by the birds of Spring Lake. Our tangly walk was also studded with tinier avian creatures among the underbrush. Feisty nuthatches bopped down fattest lake-side trunks. A fugitive white-throated sparrow fed right alongside us as though it encountered humans every day of the year.
White-Throated Sparrow, Brenda Jones
The day’s auditory miracle was the whuff whuff whuff of air in swan wings, as pair after pair arrowed over us. My friend, originally from Britain, had never heard this rarity. We were blessed with it by more pairs than we could count, the entire time we circled that lake.
At the rim of other water, an almost blue jay, though uncharacteristically silent, puzzled for awhile. Until it took off down, not up, uttering that kingfisher rattle that never ceases to stop me in my tracks. Kayaking on the canal, when you hear that tattoo, look toward the sound, then down, not up. For kingfishers fly toward water, their main food source. The females of this species are the more colorful.
Belted Kingfisher in Flight, Brenda Jones
My energy was high, my new hip cooperative. We almost skipped over the little bridge and into the Marsh woods itself. Here and there, we’d go off-trail, scuffing through leaves. These feet, all to recently, all too accustomed to hospital corridors, managed roots and leaves and stones and mosses, until a certain measure of caution intruded, saying, probably enough for today.
Never enough for my spirit.
But it will have to do.
And meanwhile, our Marsh proved to me anew, how very much life there is in winter.
We could not have taken that walk, and those native species could not have safely swum and fed in that Marsh, had not D&R Greenway Land Trust and Friends for the Marsh done all in their power ‘then and now’ to preserve and provide stewardship for this critical freshwater tidal wetland.
Wood Duck - Brenda Jones - Frequently Mentioned in Hopewell Valley Trail Guide ponds
NJ WILD readers are accustomed to my urging exploration, in search of the wild, the beautiful, adventure in our region. I recently was brought a thorough and beautifully written trail guide by Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space. I read and underline a few trail ‘chapters’ every night at supper. Virtual hikes…
Below, find Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space’s launch release. I requested it, once I started paging through this Guide to Walking Trails in the Hopewell Valley.
We’ll soon have the Guides at D&R Greenway Land Trust. Call me at 609-924-4646, Monday through Thursday, and I’ll let you know if they’re in. This is your Open Sesame to “thousands of acres of preserved open space” — free for the hiking, in the legendary next-door Sourland Mountains Region.
Baldpate Mountain View, by Brenda Jones
The Hopewell Valley is due west of us, over Route #518 or Carter Road into Hopewell, then up Greenwood Avenue to my favorite Sourlands Hike. Those ‘mountains’, to me, are a land of history and mystery, miraculously still green and rocky and vibrant, despite the 21st century’s ever-strangling rings of concrete.
The Guide celebrates the partnership of FOHVOS, Mercer County, Hopewell Township, Pennington Borough, Hopewell Borough, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and D&R Greenway Land Trust, where I work. Among them, some seventy miles of trails are open, blazed and maintained so that all of us may experience the wild.
Blue-winged Warbler, Baldpate, last week, by Brenda Jones
The point of preservation, however, in MY book, is not human need. It’s the essential habitat requirements of animal, vegetable and yes even mineral - those splendid, monumental Sourlands rocks! Sit upon some of those boulders, in the middle of a hike, and feel the sustenance and even electricity of the earth herself, buttressing you and thanking you for your appreciation.
My Sister, Marilyn Weitzel, Being Sacajawea, Sourlands - cfe
For birds, above all migrant songbirds, these contiguous preserved acres provide meat, drink, sanctuary and flyways. Legendary Sourlands naturalist, Hannah Suthers, bands ‘passerines’ during spring and fall migration, checking their health as well as their numbers. She began counting migrating birds on horseback along Featherbed Lane. Thanks to Hannah, proof exists of the importance of preserved open land to thousands of winged creatures alone, especially on journeys and often for breeding and successful raising of young.
Essence of Hopewell Valley’s Sourlands cfe
What this splendid book, with handsome color photographs of Hopewell Valley scenes, and stunning nature drawings by Heather Lovett, sings to me is, “Whose woods these are, I think I know…” (Robert Frost, of course - this is virtual Frost country.) Whose woods these are, are YOURS.
Come claim your woods and mountains, through these 19 numbered, illustrated, mapped and memorable pages!
Fox Kit at Baldpate last week, by Brenda Jones
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space
P.O. Box 395
Pennington, NJ 08534
For immediate release
Contact: Patricia Sziber, Executive Director
(609)730-1560 – office
(609)203-4720 – cell
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space Trail Guide Published
Just in time for National Trails Day, which was celebrated on June 4th this year, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS) has produced a Guide to Walking Trails in the Hopewell Valley. The 28-page booklet features locations, maps and descriptions of 19 trails open to the public for hiking and enjoyment of nature. Design and printing of the guide was made possible by a generous donation from Pennington residents Jim and Rhonda Vinson, long-time advocates of open space preservation and walking trails for residents in our region.
Mr. Vinson suggested the guide to the Friends in January and FoHVOS Vice President Tom Ogren took the lead on the project. He recruited Hopewell Township resident Mahlon Lovett, Director of Multimedia Design in Princeton University’s Office of Communication, for layout and design. One of the first steps was to decide on a format that would accommodate all of the graphics and descriptive information that would help people locate and enjoy the trails. In addition to the trail maps, the 10- by 7.5-inch booklet includes street locations of the trail heads, trail length and GPS coordinates for the parking areas, plus photos and artwork.
The guide includes seven trails on preserves owned by FoHVOS, as well as those owned or managed by Mercer County, D&R Greenway Land Trust, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the State of New Jersey and Hopewell Borough—approximately 70 miles of trails in all. Most of the trails provide opportunities for relatively easy walking; the trails on Baldpate Mountain offer a longer and more challenging hike.
FoHVOS President John Jackson remarked, “The trail guide would not have been possible without the hard work and contributions of so many people, whose enthusiasm for the project has resulted in this beautiful booklet. We want to thank the New Jersey Trails Association, D&R Greenway and the GIS Center for the maps and many of the trail descriptions. Special thanks are due to Simcha Rudolph who customized the maps and Chris Berry who verified much of the location information. We also thank Heather Lovett for her wonderful artwork and, especially, Jim and Rhonda Vinson for their inspiration and generosity…and their faith in FoHVOS to carry the project through.”
The Guide to the Walking Trails in the Hopewell Valley will be available at all three municipal buildings in the Hopewell Valley, public libraries and other locations. Residents may also request a copy by sending an e-mail with their name and mailing address and “Trail Guide” in the subject line to email@example.com.
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space President John Jackson (left) presented the first copy of the group’s Guide to Walking Trails in the Hopewell Valley to project sponsors Rhonda and Jim Vinson at the entrance to Curlis Lake Woods near Pennington.OH
When ‘the world is too much with me,’ when especially the 21st Century is too much with me, NJ WILD readers know I have to head out.
Hunterdon County Barn and Clssic Truck cfe
So last Friday became my “Reading-the-Farms” Day. Throughout bucolic Hunterdon County, farm signs began to delight as roads began to rise, as I headed west toward the river:
“Windcrossing.” “Windtryst.” “Windfall.” “Sonbob.” “Stonehedge.” In and out of these signs are others that bring great joy: That gold and black icon that means Tractor Crossing. Thank the Lord and New Jersey preservationists that there are still tractors. “Saws Sharpened.” “Farrier.” “Saddlery.” “For Sale by Owner — Bit of Heaven.”
My favorite, right outside of Hopewell, is always “Featherbed Lane - No Outlet.” It was so named because colonials tied bits of quilts (featherbeds in those days) tightly to horses’ hooves to hush them as these heroes rode these roads to protests in the time of King George III. Here both Hart and Stockton were pursued, sometimes eluding pursuers, although Stockton’s capture led to dire torturing from which he never recovered. Hart is buried in the Hopewell churchyard I just passed.
Featherbed Lane has stories to tell, not only of the Revolution, but also of migrating Sourlands songbirds. Known by birders as passerines, these winged creatures are tended as nestlings and as travelers by the legendary Hannah Suthers. “No Outlet” is misleading - for the road Hannah often monitors on horseback leads to great beauty in the landscape, as well as during spring and fall songbird migrations.
Carolina Wren, by Brenda Jones
I head either due west or due south to re-fill the well, my well, in our New Jersey. My spirit level which can be taken down too far by oiled birds, the leadership gap, ever-forecast storms which never materialize, cracks in the yard outside my new apartment looking like Kansas cornfields in August, general indifference to the crisis in the Gulf, in our environment, developers, bulldozers - well, you know all this…
Friday, therefore, became Farm-Quest day. I headed out early, into Hopewell, up Greenwood avenue, past the Sourland Mountain Preserve, to the red barn with the black and white Holsteins, where I turn left to get to my beloved Delaware. NJ WILD readers know she has just been named the most endangered river in America because gas well drillers are hoodwinking unwary property owners all up and down the Delaware watershed, wherever Marcellus shale holds so-called natural gas. In order to get AT that gas, ‘frakting’ has to take place. ‘Frakting’ the chemicals of which process poison wells and sickens families who sold gas right on their land to those convincing drillers. Have you heard this song before? Do you know that the drillers are still insisting “Frakting is safe.” Remember that BP gave us a number of 5000 for oil leakage in the profoundly globally important Gulf. The ruiners are the measurers, over and over and over.
Brenda Jones’ dawn-peaceful, pristine Delaware, which measurers, drillers, would profane:
So, I needed to escape this century. I required silvered blue siloes rising into baby-blanket-blue skies. I needed wind-stirred grasses, still dew-damp, reflecting morning light. I needed stone house after stone house, all resembling and one BEING one of George Washington’s headquarters in the 1700s. I needed that dear New Jersey winery to be nestled by a stream along a curve with a quirky old bridge - not to stop there, just that it BE there. Grapes ripening. Nature prevailing.
I needed those increasingly rolling hills, as Delaware’s surround became ever more riverine. I had to have every single one of those pouf clouds, the kind children draw in kindergarten and first grade, alongside lollipop trees of impossible green. Except, yesterday, westering toward the Delaware, everything was indeed impossible green of first slender Crayola boxes and kindergarten simplicity and trust.
I required burgeoning crops. Though I was startled, since it is only June, to be absolutely dwarfed by corn on both sides of the road. One crop looked as though it had tasselled out already. Whatever happened to “knee high by the Fourth of July?”
I’m ever so slightly able to rejoice in patriotic songs again now, now that fascism seems to have receded in our land, that flags are Old Glory again, no longer banners of insularity and revenge. So “Amber waves of grain” came to me pleasingly, as my car purred between broad swathes of fully ripened wheat. Frankly, that grain was beyond amber - all the way to toast.
Summer Wildflowers, Essential to Cabbage White Butterflies, by Brenda Jones
I needed summer-new wildflowers. I didn’t really want them to be this early, because of global warming and all. Yet, my heart leapt up at every bonnie blue burst of chicory; each airy disc of Queen Anne’s lace; the sturdy, determinedly sunny spurts of first brown-eyed Susans.
Chicory by Anne Zeman
Delaware’s generous signature was everywhere, as the rounded shoulders of her neighboring hills welcomed, then compelled me to her shores. The skies, the very air itself hold sparkle and a scintillation when Delaware is near.
A hearty breakfast at Meils in Stockton fortified me for two brief shopping errands. The Stockton Farmers’ Market, with a handful of purveyors is tucked in at the back entrance on a Friday. It’s cool and dark as a cave in there. Crossing the threshold conveys an air of secrecy and blessing. There is the sense that only those truly determined to shop with (o.k., MAD for!) local farmers come tiptoeing between saucy flowers at entry. Inside, the cognoscenti know they will be rewarded by exuberant produce, freshest eggs, the savory gold tomme cheese aged three full months in a cave, in New Jersey!; fat hearty cookies; hefty cuts of home-raised meats; succulent quiches and handmade soaps and tiles.
Vibrant Indoor Produce, Stockton Farm Market Fridays cfe
Garden State Produce, Indoor Stockton Farm Market Friday cfe
Highland Cattle, raised by Highland Farm Market, Sold at Stockton Farm Market cfe
En route home, I stopped at Maresca’s, that old-world, personable butcher shop just around the bend from the Sergeantsville covered bridge. I stock up on their sweet/smoky tender yet sustaining bacon ( which I’d enjoyed at Meil’s). I asked if he could cut me some filets an odd way so that they can be thick enough to be rare inside, but not overwhelming for one person. Delight was Emil’s response, as he checked and measured until he had exactly the number, shape and size that I wanted, one for tonight, the rest to freeze. I added their sublime lemon pound cake and a few almond cookies like soft biscotti. All that food made there or cut there, sold by those who bring it to market, in the shadow of mysterious white conical flowers that look like heaven for bees — my total was $23. I thought they forgot to add in the sweets. Quite the contrary - he gave me all the rest of that delicate filet — I may do boeuf tartare as my reward for surviving inner and outer challenges of the week just past.
Lavender Farm in Bloom cfe
Somewhere near Hopewell, I remembered a sign for fresh lavender, $3 a bunch. Sure enough, there it was, in a broad flat delicate basket that would have been carried by one of Monet’s willowy models, in flowing white gossamer, stiff/floppy hat, blue ribbons at the waist. Wading through poppies. Instead, lavender bunches lay in waiting right by the side of the road, wrapped in crinkly paper. I put my $10 bill (nothing smaller) in their unlocked box and closed it. I drove on home with the sweet tang of true French lavender, for which I always long since my life in Provence, suffusing my modern American car.
Through the grainfields. Back through the black-green Sourlands woods. Over the back roads. Home.
Leaving one bunch of lavender in the car (forever!), bearing the other two into my bedroom, I realized, my entire journey had been “Outlet”.
Twenty-five miles each way. Timelessness. Time-travel. To a world where the far-sighted, such as D&R Greenway Land Trust, but not limited to us, are preserving the Garden State.
The Garden State - Farm Near Hopewell, by Anne Zeman
Richard Louv writes of the Last Child in the Woods. Yesterday, two friends and I became Grownups in the Woods… May we not be the last!
My Sister, Pathfinder, on Earlier Sourlands Walk cfe
Sunday’s weather forecast, as usual, had been dire. But two friends I had known well in the 1980’s, recently reconnected, and I boldly set out nonetheless for my favorite Sourlands hike. We decided to hike til the storms came down, –despite forbidding ‘heat indices’–, because we were hungry for forest time.
[Turn right off #518 in Hopewell, onto Greenwood Avenue by the Dana Building. Go steadily uphill, past Featherbed Lane, past metal guard-rail, past Mountain Church Road and turn right at sideways brown sign - Sourland Mountains Preserve. Space for about six cars. Head off up the road built to remove majestic boulders, to be ground to gravel for NJ roads... In case NJ WILD readers forgot why I'm 'in preservation.']
Sourlands’ Dappled Beauty cfe
Beauty was immediate, on every side. Trees towered. Light sprinkled into the far woods. A tiny stream whisper-trickled to our right. Suddenly, my first wood thrush song of the season poured out in flute trills that seemed to echo on all sides. Increasingly imperiled because deer devour our forest understory, and they are ground feeders, the song of the wood thrush stopped me in my hike-intensive tracks. I told my re-found companions, “This was Thoreau’s favorite bird sound.” We all understood why.
Carla, who had not been on this trail before, stopped, stunned. “It’s a green cathedral!,” she gasped in hushed tones. Karen, who also lives in Hopewell, hadn’t been there in a couple of years. She turned and turned like a child at the country fair.
In the woods, actually, nothing happened. That was the whole point. Carla, who both lives and works in and around sleepy Hopewell, nevertheless kept remarking on the silence, the immediate stillness. I did warn them, and NJ WILD readers — you, also, that, in hunting season, one only walks this trail on Sundays or bedecked in orange garments, because of hunters. I am grateful to the hunters. Their marksmanship in winter, thins the herds. Therefore, more than I ever remember in the Sourlands, I found the leaves of rare spring flowers. Meaning they hadn’t been munched into extinction. Because of the hunters, there are still thrushes. Not enough.
On either side of the trail spurted thin, bamboo-like tendrils of horsetail/silica. The wire-thin stems separate easily. I take this forest herb as a daily capsule to keep fingernails so crisp and tough that they can tighten screws. The horsetail plant is good for hair, also, in ways I forget. The Indians used a fistful of horsetail, one of the world’s oldest plants, to scour out their cooking vessels. The silica plant was their Brillo pad. One of the aspects of forest walks I most treasure is that there are whole sagas in a mere tuft of green…
Everywhere we found jack-in-the-pulpit’s leaf trinity. Its pulpit is ‘gone by’ — with the forest canopy fully leafed out. “Appropriate,” observed Carla, for a Sunday morning, –Fathers’ Day, as we would later recall. “Appropriate,” she repeated, “in this green cathedral.”
We found cushions of another ancient plant, ‘princess pine’, which is no pine at all but a moss from millennia ago. It seemed as though evergreen stars had fallen onto the forest floor. Tiny pink-beige seeds waved upon long thin pale stems, nearly obscuring the faery forest from which they sprang.
I turned us at the first trail to the right, because it circulates alongside a meandering stream. No signs reveal the name of that waterway. Even so, it is pure joy, especially on a day when the over-90’s are forecast. We were cool in dappled shade. Spills of sun lit the woods as golden mushrooms do after day-long gentle rains.
Ferns of many species leapt on one side, then the other. We were surrounded by the delicate (but to me misleadingly named) New York fern, Its fronds widen, then narrow, at both ends of the stem - unusual in fern reality. Next, we came upon a fatter, tougher fern whose name I do not know, which I rarely encounter, anywhere, not even in the Berkshires. Then hefty black-green Christmas ferns created an entire grove at our feet. Off trail, a generous glade of ferns rejoiced in sun so bright the ferns seemed yellow. One of the gifts of the old forest, though by no means virgin, of the Sourlands, is the profusion of plants of ancient times.
We could feel the solid, centering, strengthening energy of diabase boulders on all sides, some so tall that they dwarfed us. Some rocks presided, some loomed, some even smiled.
Rock that Smiles, Sourlands cfe
The fun part about taking the trail’s first fork is that one is, on a hot day, deep in wood-’coolth’. A bonus was that we were keeping company with a stream. Sometimes, one is actually in the stream, but for a spillway of convenient stones. Most are flat enough and stable enough for crossing. Elsewhere our ‘bridge’ was a low lattice of downed saplings, placed by the vigilant maintainers of these intriguing paths.
Brenda Jones’ Box Turtle from Plainsboro Preserve
We searched intently for turtles. Although I have found box turtles on Sourlands trails in the past, we had no amphibians this day. Box turtles are terrestrial, not requiring water as do most of their relatives. So if you find one, don’t take it to the water. The waterstrider ballet along the stream’s peaceful surface made up for turtle absence.
Blazes were new and bright and visible, unlike the time Karen Linder and I once headed over there for a winter hike, not realizing they’d had an ice storm in the Sourlands, so near. Unfortunately, blazes then were grey or silver at best. So is ice. Up at the top of the road of yesterday, Karen and I turned east, as had the sleet. We couldn’t find the blazes. Luckily, we can both navigate ‘by the seat of our pants’, ultimately finding our way back to the car without having to retrace our steps. Adventure is a key factor in nature excursions with friends.
Karin-of-yesterday remembered a long-ago picnic atop iconic boulders. I had to tell her that that trail had been closed for some years. Partly because of people’s not respecting the rocks — from climbing (forbidden at the info sign at entry: “NO BOULDERING” — new verb) to desecrating them with words. To our joy, when our stream trail curved back to the road that had permitted ‘graveling’, we found the path to the boulders open.
For a long while we sat upon them, they lay on them, allowing rock energy to infuse our entire beings, weary from disparate work weeks. Only at the end did I discover that we were surrounded by white spires of buds about to pop. Because of the splendid black and white photography of Sourlands resident Rachel Mackow, I figured those scepters had to be black cohosh. Only one had opened into flat petals, like tiny saucers of rich cream. Until yesterday, black cohosh blooms had been mystery, even myth to me. I thought they were given only to Rachel because she is such a sensitive photographer, so attuned to nature. But there we were, on the eve of the Solstice, three women reunited after far too long, set in a crown of cohosh.
On the way down, we passed the ladder about which I had written a poem in other years, “Hauptman’s Ladder.” The egregious Lindbergh kidnapping had taken place so near to where we hiked. That baby had been born the same time as the man to whom I had been married, then next-door to the Morrows in Englewood. That tragedy had been woven all into Werner’s life, as his father moved into the baby’s room until Hauptman was supposedly identified as the criminal. Pops slept with his newborn son’s hand curled around his own, a Doberman at their sides, until the trial. The trial took place in also nearby Flemington.
Of course, this rudimentary ladder of today’s Sourlands Preserve couldn’t be that one, but its echoes remain. Only now, the massive tree against which it had always stood, the top of which the ladder came nowhere near, has been felled by one of our many violent storms. The rickety handmade weathered ladder lies on top of the downed trunk. In memory and imagination, that ladder is elsewhere for me.
Ladder and Birdhouse cfe
All-in-all, we were in the dense Sourlands Woods for 2 1/2 hours. Most of that time, we were absolutely alone on the trails. There was no sound but our footfalls and a cascade of flicker calls, the purr of red-bellied woodpecker, one complex veery cascade, and those heavenly wood thrush solos. Tragic to me was hearing not one ovenbird. Named for their oven-like nests in undergrowth, these elusive birds are far more often heard than seen: “Teacher, teacher, teacher!”, the bird books insist they cry out. No teacher was called yesterday. Meaning, there are still too many deer.
Doe With Fawn by real photographer - Brenda Jones
We couldn’t have taken this walk, were it not for preservation and stewardship.
Go, be a grownup in the woods!
(Cedar Ridge Preserve, Hunterdon County, New Jersey)
“grove and glade”
“thicket and copse”
“hummocks and vanished hummock sedge”
following the ardent preservationist
we threaded Cedar Ridge
in morning mist
and spitting rain
savoring his redolent phrases
when out of the mist
strolled autumn’s hunter
– sharp bow at his waist
– arrows like semaphores
– jacket, cap and leggings
thick with camouflage
aflutter like moths
with each stride, he rippled
breaking up his silhouette
so he could bring home the deer
when 75 hunters
rebuilt the stone wall
– dividing property from property
– ‘30s field from ‘70s
our guide had urged,
“Release your inner mason”
sinuous and gleaming
beneath tall boundary trees
their stone wall led us
from meadow to thicket
black web, hunter-spun
it links as it separates
“mature forest” from “early successional”
weaving all of us forward
– toward owl haunt and refuge of turtle
all hands blessed the monarch
of that remote glen:
the ancient oak silvery
in October spurts of light
coiled roots sheltering
mushrooms soft as feathers
our hunter faded to shadow
exultant in good works
– vernal pools dug
– the building of bridges
– invasives untangled
– rough rocks settled
into that masterful fence
above all, the thinning of herds
that devour both cedar and ridge
in our New Jersey
that bow at his waist
moved at its own pace
as though Robin himself
strode with us that day
through Hunterdon’s greenwood
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
For Lucy Graves McVicker’s “Fragile Connections”
October 3, 2009
Dedicated to all the organizations throughout the United States who preserve open lands, preserving habitat for creatures of the air land and water, and for retore our souls.
Scene worthy of Constable skies, at Greenway Meadows, off Princeton’s Rosedale Road
one of 16 trails described in Walk the Trails In & Around Princeton by Sophie Glovier, photography by Bentley Drezner
The rapt audience at Labyrinth Books on Sunday learned that Sophie Glovier’s and Bentley Drezner’s new trail guide, published in April, has sold 1000 copies in this short time! http://www.walkthetrails.org/index.html.
As Dorothea von Moltke, one of Labyrinth’s owners, introduced Sophie and Bentley, Dorothea announced, “This is the first time at Labyrinth that, within a day, every staff member had purchased a copy of a new book.” Dorothea went on to predict that, “It won’t be long before everyone in Princeton has one.”
High praise, indeed, for these first-timers with their splendid pocket (as in cargo pants)-sized guide to 16 trails on preserved land in our region.
These generous, committed preservationists are donating the profits to the book to D&R Greenway Land Trust where I work; to Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and to Friends of Princeton Open Space. Representatives of all were in the Labyrinth audience, books in hand.
Walk the Trails In and Around Princeton, at $20, may be purchased at Labyrinth, and at D&R Greenway (One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, Princeton) Otherwise, call D&R G to order, with nominal postage and handling. [www.drgreenway.org]
To walk with Sophie Glovier, Bentley Drezner and D&R Greenway Director of Stewardship, former head of D&R Canal Commission for 30 years, Jim Amon - call D&R Greenway to register for June 14 Towpath Walk (12:30) and Reception (1:30) at Kingston’s fresh, local sustainable new Eno Terra Restaurant.
This event is a preservation fundraiser at $75 per person, honoring the 20th birthday of D&R Greenway, and the 175th of the Towpath. Delicious foods and wines are being chosen and prepared by the Momo Brothers for this D&R Greenway Founders’ Fete. History and nature will be expertly woven throughout the afternoon, indoors and out.
Using Sophie’s and Bentley’s handsome guidebook can return children and their parents to the nature that is their birthright!
Here is your answer to free entertainment that does not involve long drives, expensive gas, and spewed emissions.
NJ WILD readers know I’ve been writing on nature, travel and history for Princeton Newspapers and New Jersey Magazines, intensively in the 21st Century. Sophie’s books reveals new trails to me, and points (like Ariadne in the Labyrinth) to entries to trails I’ve longed to hike but didn’t know how or where to begin!
Both women lure us out on the trails, or as I would insist, into the WILD of which there is all too little in our daily lives.
In Sophie’s and Bentley’s world, literally mapped out in their book, the random becomes the norm, beauty the outcome. New nature discoveries season each walk, –often the rare and endangered plants and birds–, as though thanking the humans for preserving these 16 trails.
At their Labyrinth Books, through Power Point and voice, both women shared discoveries, –from caves to waterfalls to lily ponds. Particularly memorable are expansive views of the Sourland Mountains, visible from the Greenway Meadows vantage point I’ve photographed and inserted above. That walk is on the 60 acres preserved by D&R Greenway Land Trust, upon which our handsome circa-1900’s barn still resides, serving as home base. Often, Sophie and Bentley alert us that, from this trail, nothing human is in view.
Sophie’s writing has the impeccable clarity of the best journalists. Bentley’s artistry has been turned into postcards which can be removed and mailed to your friends who are not blessed by living in beautiful New Jersey!
Here is Steve Hiltner’s description of the book, from his blog, Princeton Nature Notes - and thank you, Steve!
As many already know, there’s a wonderful new pocket-sized guide to nature trails in and around Princeton available at various bookstores, and also on the web at http://www.walkthetrails.org/index.html.
Even long-time residents of Princeton are often unaware of the many natural wonders to be explored hereabouts. This guide can help change that. Profits from the book go to preserving open space. Sophie is on the board of Friends of Princeton Open Space.
Seeing my dear friend, Penelope Schott, formerly of Rocky Hill and of Griggstown, finding something more interesting than Mt. St. Helens this week, I ask NJ WILD readers and myself, “Who am I to call NJ WILD?”
Actually, I claim that right because I’ve made the Pine Barrens my own. Because I’m in love with sugar sand and bayberry, pygmy pines and curly grass fern. Because people try to scare me about the Jersey Devil when I’m down there wandering around, getting lost on purpose, alone - and by George! I silence them when I insist, “I WANT to meet him!”
Bordentown resident, Joseph Bonaparte, [--Brother of Napoleon, former King of Spain and of Naples, star of an NJN special I couldn't get on my Comcast and I don't know why --] Joseph saw the Jersey Devil in the 1800’s and wrote of it to friends and colleagues abroad. What’s good enough for Joseph is good enough for me. I’m WAITING…
I call NJ WILD because everyone at D&R Greenway works so hard to preserve open space, beginning 20 years ago with the Towpath, morphing over into the Sourlands, and now racking up 1900 acres at a clip in Salem County. Because it’s taken us 20 years to save 20 miles, and we’re full speed AHEAD! And now we’re providing stewardship, which involves removing invasives. Now we’re growing native species in our hoop house to restore the forest primeval… with deer fencing… Come see The Edward T. Cone Grove…
When I worked in Corporate America, people thought it WILD of me to hike the towpath alone. The D&R Canal and Towpath. The Towpath you can’t get into Princeton from College Road East without crossing.
I praise NJ WILD and no one can stop me.
However, this is what my cherished friend and fellow Cool Woman Poet, Penelope Schott, who now lives in Oregon, was doing a week after her mother’s funeral - doin’ the what comes naturally out west… o dear now THAT’s WILD!
Mt. St. Helens is in the background… But to this quirkily original and passionate woman, something is more important than that famous mount.
What’s WILD to you?