Tuesday Photo Challenge – Trail by jansenphotojansenphoto

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. Williams

Bhavna 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. Williams

We 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. Williams

Some 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

Working Dog Winery

Bhavna and I were at Working Dog Winery in Robbinsville to listen to our friend Matt Robinson perform in the band Acoustic Road. Matt is a guitar instructor In Skillman, Montgomery Township. Acoustic Road performs well known acoustic rock and classic rock from the ’60s, ’70s, 80’s, 90,s and beyond.

Acoustic Road at Working Dog Winery —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (27.4 mm, 0.008 sec at f/5.6, ISO800), © Khürt L. Williams
Acoustic Road at Working Dog Winery —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (22 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO12800), © Khürt L. Williams

This is our first time at Working Dog Winery. After getting the lay of the land, we found a barrel to place our the picnic basket, which we had packed with cheese, salami, crackers, hummus, and corn chips. Back inside, we completed a wine tasting to get an idea of what we wanted to drink. We both agreed on a bottle of white wine, the Traminette, which is unusual since Bhavna likes dry red wines and I prefer a New England style Sour IPA.

Acoustic Road at Working Dog Winery —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.077 sec at f/5.6, ISO1600), © Khürt L. Williams

I bought a chilli dog from the Tower Dogs food truck which was parked on the grass. The hazy New England IPA would have been a better choice to have with a chilli dog. Not so much the wine.

Speaking of dogs, Working Dog Winery is a dog-friendly winery. Most of the guests brought dogs.

My friend Ed lives in East Windsor, a nearby town, and joined us for what turned out be a beautiful day of camaraderie, wine, sun, and classic rock.

I bracketed the images and applied a Kodakchrome film-grain Lightroom preset.

Acoustic Road at Working Dog Winery —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (40.1 mm, 0.008 sec at f/20, ISO1250), © Khürt L. Williams
Matt Robinson —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (44.1 mm, 0.008 sec at f/5.6, ISO800), © Khürt L. Williams

To fend off seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and get some fresh air, Bhavna and I decided that in 2019 we would find our way outside despite both hating the cold. We joined the REI co-op, bought some base layers, and new jackets, hiking boots, etc. After three months of staying indoors drinking craft ales, I start to look and feel “round“, especially in. my belly.

One of the perks of joining the REI Co-op is that we get access to classes about hammocking, hiking, biking etc. This past weekend Bhavana and I signed up for a beginner’s hike; the Hike and Hops at St. Michaels Farm Preserve. The Lawrenceville REI Co-op organised this hike. When we awoke that morning, Bhavna and I were sure REI would cancel the walk. It had rained the night before, and the warmer air temp was melting the snow. We expected the trail would be too wet to hike. It was too wet but not so much to cancel the hike. We layered up and drove to the trailhead on Princeton Avenue to find a group of about eight people waiting in the parking lot.

Some history on the property is provided by the D& R Greenway Land Trust.

Now over 400 acres, the St. Michaels property, which was preserved in 2010 and expanded in 2017, is an expanse of farm fields and forests on the edge of Hopewell Borough. From many parts of this preserve, the visitor has long views, lending the preserve a wonderful expansiveness which promotes a sense of well-being in anyone who walks its many farm roads and paths. From 1896 until 1973 this was the home of St. Michael’s Orphanage and Industrial School which was operated by the Catholic Diocese of Trenton. After the orphanage was closed, the building where the children lived and went to school was torn down and most of the land was leased to a local farmer. Before the diocese divested themselves of the property through development they offered one last chance for preservation if D& R Greenway could raise the funds to purchase the property. Over $11 million was raised, and in 2010 D& R Greenway succeeded in purchasing the land through a public/private partnership. It is now preserved as open space forever. The largest amount of the $11M purchase price for this property came from the State farmland preservation program. Six miles of farm roads provide walking trails throughout the preserve.

We met the trail guide Dan and his friend John. John lives in the area and is an educator in a local public school. We were given an overview of the trail and a history of St. Michaels Farm before proceeding along a soggy and muddy open field. We struggled to make our way back to more solid ground, and since I stopped for Bhavna and to take photos, we fell behind the rest of the group.

The trail was soggy; perhaps boggy is a better word. Our guide Dan had to choose alternative paths across some of the streams. On the trail, we ducked under fallen trees and scrambled over others. We forded streams with water just barely under the ankle of the shoe. Water entered Bhavna’s shoes.

I’m working from home today. We both injured a foot this weekend while on this beginner’s hike. I think the issue is that we are both barefoot inside our house. We only wear shoes for work or to go hiking. For both of us, wearing shoes is an exercise in damage control. When I wear shoes outside on walks and hike along difficult terrain, my toes curl inside the shoe; trying to get a grip. This action stresses my toes. Is this the reason Westerners have such ugly feet? It’s damaged from years of doing the opposite of what nature intended?

What made the trek worthwhile was the camaraderie of the group during the hike and the post-hike Troon craft ale we drank together at the Brick Farm Tavern.

The part where we introduce ourselves but there are so many new names we almost immediately forget them. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (17 mm, f/8.0, ISO320), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
Waiting for the slowpoke photographer to catch up. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (24.2 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
The grassland was extremely soggy. Out boots were completely covered with mud and walking became difficult on the wet grass. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (36.5 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
At the half-way point, Dan and John explained the route we would be taking through the forest. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (37.6 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
Hike and Hops at St. Michaels Farm Preserve with REI Outdoor School — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (37.6 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
In the background, I can see John fording the stream. We followed him across a few minutes later. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
Hike and Hops at St. Michaels Farm Preserve with REI Outdoor School — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
Troon Brewing Inspissated — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/3.2, ISO4000), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams