Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve

Posted on Sunday, 17th February 2019 11:34 AM EST

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Crawl by jansenphotojansenphoto (Dutch Goes the Photo)

All that crawls…

Planes crawled across the sky over Franklin Township travelling to and fro Newark Liberty International Airport. I walked on the path cut into the grassland, encountered ice and swamp-like mud. I slipped and slid, twisted and hurt something in my right foot. But I didn't know that at the time. Just a lingering feeling that I had overdone it. That something wasn't right.

I learned about the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve while perusing the REI online store. I was checking out the sales items and saw a link for the REI Hiking Project. Thirty minutes later, I had downloaded the Hiking Project app and was looking at a list of nearby possibilities for a hike. I decided to try the Griggstown Native Grassland because it was close to home. A grassland hike would be different than my usual hikes in the Sourland Mountain Preserve.

I had rented a Fujinon XF27mm F2.8 pancake lens for a weekend trip to visit my brother in Charlotte, North Carolina. We had to postpone our plans and while I was able to cancel my flight and hotel booking, I forgot about the lensrental. I felt I had to get some value from the lens so I decided to put it on my Fuji X-T2 and bring it with me on my hike. With a ~41mm in 35mm equivalent, it provides a field of view roughly equal to that of the human eye. On this hike, the photos would provide a "Khürt's Eye View" of the hike.

Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams

I drove along Canal Road and despite using Google Maps, I almost missed the entrance to the preserve. The entrance is a via a narrow dirt road that winds it's way around to the trailhead. There were two other cars parked. I grabbed my stuff and walked over to the information shed to look for a map. I could not understand the map on the back of the shed.

I pulled out the Hiking Project app which has GPS to pinpoint my location. One thing to note about using a GPS app on a smartphone. They are only accurate to about 50 feet. To increase accuracy, these apps often use cellular or Wi-Fi signals. The Hiking Project app uses the GPS information from my iPhone and the cellular signal to place my location on it's a map of the preserve. If you are in a location with poor (or no) cellular signal the hiking app won't accurately place you on its map. Your phone knows your coordinates but the app does not.

Griggstown Grasslands — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams

I got some information the two gentlemen who were preparing to hike in the preserve. There was a small Blue Trail and a larger Red Trail. I decided to take the Red Trail.

The trails are not well marked. I walked across the wide grassland trail and felt the sense of openness. This is rare here in New Jersey. I walked across a bridge and around a path that took me to an abandoned shipping container. Ironically the words, Evergreen were printed on the side. I continued walking and realized that I had just walked in a circle.

Remember what I wrote earlier about GPS and cellular signals? I consulted the Hiking Project app and realized I had walked off the trail. I walked back across the bridge and re-entered the trail. This part of the trail was very wet, soggy, and muddy. It didn't help that the trail path is cut through the grass. I was walking on wet grass on top of wet soil.

Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams
Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams

I walked up this hill which was slippery from water frozen into shoe prints left over from an earlier thaw or rain. At the top was a park bench and I stopped for a moment to take in the view of the Sourland Mountain Range. It looked so small in the distance.

Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams
Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams
Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams

I consulted the Hiking Project app and realized that I was almost done with the red trail. Ahead across large patches of ice lay the path to the Orange Trail. I slid my way across slowly crawling to the other side. The path ahead was again soggy wet. Arriving at the fork in the path to start the orange trail I saw, even more, ice and wet muddy areas. I reconsidered my options. Take the exit path back to the trailhead or complete the orange trail. I decided I had had enough and took the trail back to the car.

Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams
Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF27mmF2.8 @ (27 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-17 Khürt L. Williams

It was 3:30 AM when I uploaded these photos. I was in pain. I couldn't get to sleep because of the intensity of the pain. I uploaded the photos, posted a link on the comments on Frank's website, and went back to bed. This morning my wife took me to the doctor. I had a sprained tendon and will be wearing a boot for a few weeks.

The Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.

2 thoughts on “Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve”

  1. Tuesday Photo Challenge – Trail by jansenphoto

    Welcome to week 165 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!
    You certainly hit the Road with a passion! Not only were your posts creative, but there were a lot of them! This week, as I’m on the road for work, I went through some of images from Ireland and found a nice next step along our journey: Trail! Wh…

    Yesterday I walked the Stonebrodge Trails with Bhavana. I’ve hiked or walked many of the trails in the area around Hopewell, Princeton, Hillsborough, and Montgomery including Van Horne Park Trail, Devil’s Half Acre, Autumn Hill Reserve,Institute Woods Trails, D&R Canal Park Trail, Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve Trail, St. Michaels Farm Preserve, etc.. Most of the trails in Montgomery Township were cleared and created by the Montgomery Friends of Open Space (MFOS) and D&R Greenway Land Trust.
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.025 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. WilliamsBhavna has had problems with a heel spur in her right foot. She’s been in pain for several weeks, but she wanted to get out of the house. I wanted to capture trail images for Frank’s weekly challenge. I remembered that Stonebridge Trails were mostly flat terrain that could be easy on her foot. She was hesitant but agreed to come with me. Neither one of us has walked the trail.The trail wraps around the Stonebridge at Montgomery senior living community. We parked in the lot next to the Montgomery 1860’s house. We did not find the trailhead, which we later discovered was near the entrance to the 1860’s property but found a way onto the trail from behind the red barn.
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.005 sec at f/5.6, ISO200), © Khürt L. WilliamsWe took a wrong turn at the fork in the trail, and I think ended up going south-east toward the D&R Canal toward Rocky Hill. The trail was muddy. We turned around and returned to the fork to go the other direction.
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.014 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. WilliamsSome of the trails are part of a paved loop walkway which I think was built for Stonebridge. It’s early summer, and most of the spring wildflowers have since disappeared. However, I did find small islands of colour among the ocean of green.Bhavna’s pain threshold was breached 30 minutes into the walk, so we took the abbreviate trail and headed back to the car.
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.000 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.006 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
    Stonebridge Trails, Montgomery Township, Skillman, New Jersey —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (36.5 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
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  2. I think I’ve had more “sick” days in the first few months of 2019 than I had in the first half of 2018. I put sick in quotes because all of those days off have not been related to viral or bacterial infection. Some of these sick days are related to recovering from an injured foot due to hiking or walking. In February I injured my right foot while on a two-hour photo walk through the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve. Two weeks ago I hurt my left foot while on a two-hour hike through the St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell. In January I was out of the office for a few days due to food poisoning. In those situations, I had suffered an injury to my body.Today, I am feeling the effects of whatever tests were done at my visit to the orbital surgeon at Wills Eye Surgery Center to determine the severity of my Graves Eye Disease. Some of the tests— look as far up as you can see for the next 30 seconds— were painful. The sensitivity to light that I felt yesterday after dilating drops was to be expected. But the feeling continued into the evening and is no less severe this morning. We have a wet, overcast day here in New Jersey. The light from the window is causing some minor pain. I can’t imagine driving in this. I adjusted the brightness of the iMac’s display and increased the font size in Safari to make it easier on my eyes.I am sitting in the dark of my home office workspace with just the light from a second-floor window. But even that feels uncomfortable. I called in sick because I don’t see how I could drive to work and work in a fully lit office while looking at two displays all day. Typing up this blog post took longer than I expected. I took numerous breaks to give my eyes some rest in between typing sentences. I am hoping that a day of rest will help.I’m terrible at being sick, though. When I can’t go hiking or walking because of a foot injury, I like to read on my iPad. Or I may spend some time in Adobe Lightroom, editing some of the back catalogues of images on my iMac. Or I would binge-watch something a series on Netflix or a watch a movie on the Apple TV. But I can’t do any of that today. Can I?
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