Bhavna, Kiran and I hiked on the Aunt Molly Trail yesterday. We had a second day of sunny weather for Memorial Day, so Bhavna and I decided on another hike. I suggested we try the Mount Rose Preserve in Hopewell which isn’t too far from Aunt Molly Road.
Mount Rose is a nearly 400-acre preserve in Hopewell Township that was slated for development. The preserve is on land that was previously a corporate campus, and later a major research and education facility for Western Electric and AT&T. It was preserved in 2015 through the work of FoHVOS and several important partner organizations. The preserve is a landscape of both forest and meadow. Mount Rose is home to our longest trail yet, an over 2-mile hike that stretches through mature forest, streams, and second growth forest.
We misread the map and followed a short trail which connected to the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) which is a paved trail, perfect for strolls or bicycling. We walked along this wetland trail under we arrived at Carter Road. Realising our mistake, we turned around and headed back to the entrance to the preserve.
From the trailhead, we found the entrance to the trailhead for the 2-mile forest loop trail. I saw so many new plants and flowers and like the Aunt Molly Trail, this trail took us over streams, through the dense forest, shrubland and meadow habitats. We came upon a deer exclosure that allows New Jersey native plants to grow and thrive without the threat of deer.
The trail has been recently updated with signage about COVID-19.
Bhavna and I agreed that this was the best trail we have hiked and we intend to return again and again. We talked about life under COVID-19, future planning, taxes, etc.
I uploaded all the forty-seven photos remaining after my deletion from the original 200. They are in chronological order.
You would think that after over two months of living with COVID restrictions on my life, I would have adjusted. That I would find ways to get out of bed with a purpose. But I do not. Some days are "meh", and some days I feel down. I looked at my calendar, and I saw how many of our planned trips and experiences that won't be happening this year. Some are seasonal. May and June were going to be busy months.
The one thing that is bothering me is cancelling the warbler photography field trip and workshop with Ray Hennessey. I had planned that experience with a friend. I could not fathom how the three of us would socially distance in the woods while from a distance, Ray tried his best to help us photograph birds. This week I was feeling angry and bitter. I am sure it showed in the tone of my blog posts. My friend was not interested in doing the workshop anymore, so I cancelled. But I think I want to ask Ray if we can work out a way for just him and myself to do the workshop.
Bhavna has a way of sensing what I need even before I know what I need. Bhavna, Kiran and I went for a walk around the Aunt Molly section of the St. Michael's Farm Preserve Trail in Hopewell Township which is a 15-minute drive from home. The ground was not as wet and muddy as we had expected. Bhavna marvelled at how much the vegetation had grown, changing the look and the experience of the woods. As usual, because my observation and photography slow things down, Kiran walked ahead. Bhavna commented that the air smelled "weird" and I agreed. I think it was the smell of damp decaying vegetation which was becoming compost for the newer growing plants.
I saw many fresh wildflowers but the Jack-in-The-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) was the only one which I recognised. I think this was my first time seeing them. I saw tall-growing stems with white and purple flowers and small delicate spike white flowers lower to the grown growing in between thickets of low growing plants. But I also saw a lot of green.