A late afternoon walk on the Lawrence-Hopewell trail.
The day after my not-yet-spring hike, I had planned on doing another hike. Bhavna and Kiran wanted to join me. Bhavna suggested we try the Rocky Brook trail in East Amwell Township, but the rock crossing over the stream crossing was flooded with water from the melting snow when we arrived. It was too deep to cross without getting ice-cold water up past the ankles. There several rock crossings on the trail; one slip and the hike would be over. They were disappointed, and we concluded that most of the other hiking nearby trails would be the same.
I suggested that we reschedule hiking for a dryer day and instead walk the paved pathway near the Mount Rose Distillery section of the Lawrence-Hopewell trail would be best under the circumstances. We would still get a chance to be outside, stretch our legs and enjoy the late afternoon light. There was no parking at the Lawrence-Hopewell trailhead, so we parked at the Mount Rose trailhead. We slogged through the mud-covered snow and soggy grass along the short trail that connects the Mount Rose trail to the Lawrence-Hopewell trail.
The Lawrence-Hopewell trail is an in-and-out mixed-use trail for walking, jogging and biking. We passed many maskless walkers out with their canine companions. The trail is covered with asphalt and lined with trees and shrubs, with some areas passing through a natural grass wetland. Sections of the trail run parallel to Pennington-Rocky hill road. The trail ends at the entrance to a residential "mansion" neighbourhood, and I think the walk is more enjoyable in the spring when the leaves are green, the wildflowers are in bloom, and the trees are filled with the sounds of bird song.
Part of the joy I get from being in the woods is the year-round (except for the Grey Death of Winter) exercise of all of my senses. I love the Springtime birdsong, the sound of the wind whispering through the trees, the crunch and smell of decaying Autumn leave underfoot, the rays of spring and summer light falling through the trees, the earthy smell after a rainfall, and the wonderful perfume of Spring flowers.
These are the special moments I look forward to with the passing of the grey death of winter.
The weather on Tuesday was sublime air temperatures in the mid-tens; about 15ºC. Much of the snow in the backyard had melted, but the grass and ground sill felt soggy underfoot.
The weather on Tuesday was sublime with air temperatures in the mid-tens; about 15ºC. Much of the snow in the backyard had melted, but the grass and ground sill felt soggy underfoot. Still, I wanted to satisfy my urge to be outdoors. I had been inside for far too long during the cold, grey and snow damp weeks of January and February. I am still looking for new contract opportunities, and without work to distract me, being at home was affecting my mental health. I was tired of the fluorescent glow from the iMac's display. I wanted to feel some natural light on my face. I decide to hike the Aunt Molly Trail on St. Michael's Preserve.
The first part of the trail was a mixture of ice, water, mud and snow slushy. But once I got up the steep incline near the brook, things changed as the hiking trail opened. The sun fell and soaked my face in cosmic rays of warmth.
The trail changed to a crunch layer of packed snow. I could see that many other hikers had trampled the snow and packed it onto the trail.
Despite the warmer weather and exposure to full sun, there were large patches of snow. In some places, there was still so much snow that I could not see the trail.
In other areas, the leaf biomass's warmth and the lichen had melted the snow to reveal green patches, not just from the Holly.
I could hear bird song even as the trail changed from ice and snow to mud and ice and ice and water.
Then the trail changed again, mostly mud and ice. The trail was less open and more claustrophobic, lined with leafless trees and shrubs. I could see pockets of green lichen on dead branches and the base of trees.
I was mildly concerned that I could no longer tell if I was still on the trail, that I might be wandering off. It was then clear again, and soon, I was back where I started and ready to head home.
It's 16ºC outside. The earth is definitely soggy and squishy but I'm going out anyway.
It's 16ºC outside. The earth is definitely soggy and squishy, but I'm going out anyway. I need some natural light.