In September of 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused severe flooding and damage in the area, and the bridge was hit hard.
After photographing the waterfall, I walked north along the short trail in Zion Crossing Park. At the far end of the trail are the remains of the Zion-Wertsville Road Bridge.
The Zion-Wertsville Road Bridge, aka the Rock Brook Bridge, is in Hillsborough Township and is part of the border between Montgomery Township, intersecting Hollow Road and Zion-Wertsville Road. It was built in the late 1800s and is a historic iron truss bridge that spans the Millstone River. The bridge is an important piece of history for Hillsborough Township, and it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1995.
The bridge was originally used for vehicular traffic but closed in 1984 due to safety concerns. However, in the 1990s, the bridge was restored and converted into a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.
A new project, the Zion-Wertsville Road Bridge Rehabilitation Project, was started to fix up this historic bridge. It involved putting in a reinforced concrete arch liner with concrete fill and a reinforced concrete relief slab for the steel stringer span. The plan was also to install a new steel tube railing to make the bridge safer.
The project started in August 2021, but unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. In September of that same year, the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused severe flooding and damage in the area, and the bridge was hit hard. The flood waters were so strong that they destroyed many of the materials used for the rehab project, and the bridge itself was seriously damaged. It was a challenging setback, but the community is working to get the project back on track as soon as possible.
The bridge was part of the route for the Sourland Spectacular, an annual bicycle race to raise funds for the Sourland Conservancy, a non-profit whose aim is to protect the delicate ecosystem of the Sourland Mountain Range.
Trout lilies are one of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring, usually around March or April.
In the past, I have had good luck finding wildflowers at Zion Crossing Park. Trout lilies are one of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring, usually around March or April. However, I saw no trout lily plants at Zion Crossing Park two weeks before this visit. While walking on the trail toward the Zion-Wertsville Road Bridge, I found spring beauty and very early signs of trout lily. I am too late to see the blooms this year.
Trout lily (Erythronium americanum) is a wildflower native to eastern North America. It gets its name from the mottled leaves, which some people think resemble a trout's skin colouring. When the plant blooms, the yellow flowers are delicate and dainty, with six petals arranged in a star shape. I usually find the plant carpeting the forest floor with bright blooms.
I would get down on my knees to get a close-up, using a macro extension tube with one of my lenses trying to fill the frame. Often my clothes would get dirty from mud, and sometimes, I hurt myself by banging my knee against a rock. It was not ideal. Once, I tried so hard to balance my body on my feet while cropped over, trying to get the flower in focus, I strained the muscles on the bottom of my feet. It took weeks to heal.
Using the XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, I can stay far from the flowers and still fill the frame.
In the spring, Trout lilies are one of the earliest nectar sources for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Trout lilies reproduce by growing new plants from underground bulbs produced by the parent plant. Over time, this can lead to large colonies of trout lilies covering the woodland floor.
With its many waterfalls, rivers, lush tropical rainforest and mountains to explore, mainland St. Vincent is astonishingly beautiful.
In 1998, after my brother's wedding ceremonies in Antigua, Bhavna and I took a three-day excursion to St. Vincent & The Grenadines. We stayed with Dad at the The Bank House and I promised Bhavna that we would do something special after visiting my grandmother in Bequia.
With its many waterfalls, rivers, lush tropical rainforest and mountains to explore, mainland St. Vincent (the big island) is astonishingly beautiful. When it’s not actively spewing ash and hot lava, one can hike to the top of the La Soufrière volcano1. Of course, I had to show Bhavna the beauty of the land of my birth.
The Wallilabou River is a river northwest of Saint Vincent. It rises in the Morne Garou Mountains between Richmond Peak and Mount Brisbane, flowing west to reach the Caribbean Sea north of Chateaubelair. Trinity Falls is near the Wallilabou River in the town of Wallilabou in the parish of St. David on the Leeward side of the island. Mom’s cousin ran an eco-tourism company. She made a few calls, and soon Bhavna and I were booked for a one-day nature hike to Trinity Falls.
Our nature guide picked us up at the The Bank House in a tiny Suzuki minivan popular on the island in the 1990s. He warned us that the hike to the falls would be long and strenuous and that we wouldn’t be able to carry much in the way of food and drink except for the curry potato roti wraps and bottled water he packed for our lunch.
The drive to Trinity Falls took longer than I had anticipated, almost two hours. The roads are narrow, mostly unpaved, with treacherous drops into the valley. Our driver drove slowly, hugging the Leeward Highway, which at times was only as wide as two cars with maybe half an inch between them when side by side. We passed through Layou, Barrouallie and finally Wallilabou. We hiked from the trailhead through the damp forest, working up a sweat on our way to the falls.
It was a long, hot walk, and a dip in the cold river water was something Bhavna, and I looked forward to! The beauty that unfolded in front of us was terrific; three powerful waterfalls tumbled into a wide river basin and then flowed into another basin below. The water was cold, but rock slabs warmed us as we basked in the sun. I could feel the strong pull of the water. We nestled in between the rocks and had a blast.
Due partly to landslides and floodwaters that have washed away rainforest and bushes above the falls, the conditions at the waterfall are hazardous. Trinity Falls has been declared a danger zone and is closed to visitors.
I think it’s interesting how memory works. When I saw this week’s Len’s Artists Photo Challenge topic, Three of a Kind, I struggled with what I would do. Should I go out looking for subject matter? Should I pull something from the Adobe Lightroom catalogue? I launched Adobe Lightroom, and I was presented with a scanned photograph of my Acura Integra that I had edited a few days earlier. While looking at the photo, I noticed that it had a date of August 1998, but it was stored in the 1996 folder. I moved the photo to the August 1998 folder and immediately saw some photographs from my brother’s wedding taken that same month. While looking at the pictures from the wedding, I saw the photos of the waterfall. I did not remember which waterfall I had photographed, so off to Google, I went. It wasn’t until after I realised that they were of Trinity Falls that I had my response to the challenge.
Was this serendipity, or did my mind lead me to this?
Apologies for the quality of these photographs. When we took this vacation, APS film was being pushed by Kodak as the future of film photography. I was ignorant and bought into the hype. I purchased an APS film camera and several rolls of APS film, which was the worst camera to bring on a vacation. The quality of APS film was inferior to the 35mm film format it was intended to replace. 35mm film is still made and sold, but APS (along with Kodak) was relegated to the dustbin of history.
When I was in high school, my Uncle Clifford took me, my brothers and some cousins to hike to the top of the La Soufrière volcano. Uncle Clifford was the Chief Surveyor for the government of St. Vincentian. He knew all the cool places to visit and how to get to them. ↩