Replied to 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.

40° 26.145 N -74° 36.593 W
 

This Neshanic Station Bridge, also known as Elm Street Bridge, has been on my to-do list for several years. Every time I drive out to visit my brother-in-law in Annandale or stop in at Conclave Brewing for a pint I take a route that leads me through Hillsborough and Neshanic Station. On this occasion, I was returning from completing a photo project. I had spent the morning photographing from the banks of the south branch of the Raritan River in Clinton Township. On the drive out to Clinton, I slowed down and paid attention for potential places to park the car and made a mental note to stop on the way back.

Neshanic Station is an unincorporated community located within Branchburg Township, in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. In 2016 most of the village was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Neshanic Station Historic District.Wikipedia

The sun was lower in the sky when I started my return drive home. I parked on the shoulder of the road on the eastern side of the Raritan River. I could easily see the banks of the River. I grabbed my camera and tripod and made my way through the brush to the river bank. The snow or ice had melted, and the ground was muddy and slipper. I slid down to the river bank. I almost slide right in. My shoes were full of chunks of mud, but I set up my tripod and grabbed a few shots from a few locations.

So what do I know about this bridge? From what I gathered from various online sources The Elm Street Bridge is a lenticular truss bridge that carries Elm Street (Somerset County Route 667) over the river out of the community to River Road. Because of the length of the Raritan River, there are quite a few towns in New Jersey with a River Road.

The Elm Street Bridge (Neshanic Station Bridge) over the South Branch of the Raritan River, is a rare example of a lenticular, or parabolic, truss. The structure consists of two spans and is 285 feet in length. It was built in 1896 by the nationally known Berlin Iron Bridge Company of East Berlin, Connecticut. The Elm Street Bridge still retains its historical integrity and original design and is the best-preserved example of this type of truss bridge in the state. It was rehabilitated in 2007 by Somerset County.Visit Somerset County

Neshanic Station Bridge, Branchburg Township, Somerset County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/10, ISO200), Copyright 2019-01-26 Khürt L. Williams

Constructed in 1873, the South Branch School House in Branchburg Township is a one-room building in the Victorian-Italianate style of architecture. From 1873 to 1950 it educated children in grades 1 through 8.

In 1848, Henry Barnard published School Architecture, which offered designs and ideas for model schoolhouses. Following his advice, schools were built with rectangular plans on raised foundations, with the gable end would serving as the front. The longer side walls featured multiple double-sash windows, and the classrooms offered high ceilings. Up until shortly after the Civil War, their style and manner of construction mirrored churches and meetinghouses.

South Branch School House, Branchburg, Somerset County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-02 Khürt L. Williams

Students faced a windowless wall at the back. The school also incorporated a raised platform at one end for when the classroom was used for assemblies. The South Branch School House was one of the first in the area built expressly as a tuition-free public school following the New Jersey Free School Act of 1871. With a room size of about 24 or 25 feet square the school was designed to accommodate 50 students.

Writing in the 1874 Annual Report of the New Jersey Department of Education, State Superintendent of Education Ellis Apgar wrote:

Every school should be well furnished. Everything added to make the schoolroom comfortable, convenient, and attractive, facilitates the work of education. A teacher cannot be expected to do good work without the proper tools. The desks furnished the children should be of the most approved style; they should have folding seats, so as to allow of freedom of motion in marching, callisthenics, and general exercises. Settees placed in front of the teacher’s desk are convenient for recitation purposes. The teacher’s desk should be neat and substantial, having at least six drawers in it. There should be three or four chairs, a thermometer, an eight-day clock, a small globe, a call bell, and other conveniences for teaching.

South Branch School House, Branchburg, Somerset County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-02 Khürt L. Williams

Peak attendance at the school hit 95 in 1875. Due to declining enrollment, in 1950 Branchburg Township built a new built a consolidated elementary school and use of the Little Red School House dropped even further.

In 1963, the Branchburg Board of Education sold the schoolhouse to Branchburg Township, and work was begun on a restoration project to coincide with the township’s tercentenary. Closing in 1965, the South Branch Schoolhouse was the last one-room school in use in Somerset County. Restoration worked continued into 2005, when the school was placed on the state and national registers of historic places.

The famous opera singer, Anna Case, attended the school in the late 1890s.

South Branch School House, Branchburg, Somerset County, New Jersey — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-02-02 Khürt L. Williams

I shot from a tripod and bracketed my shots. The Classic Chome Fujifilm Film Simulation preset was applied to each image and the images combined in Photomatix Pro. The Natural filter was applied in Photomatix Pro and the resulting image was imported back into Adobe Lightroom for further adjustment.

Sources

South Branch School House, VisitSomeresetNJ.org, Somerset County, https://visitsomersetnj.org/fun-somerset-nj/south-branch-school-house/
Greg Gillette, South Branch Schoolhouse, My Central Jersey, 7:00 a.m. ET May 25, 2017, https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/view-from-hillsborough/2017/05/25/south-branch-schoolhouse-2/102137624/
Kelly, Somerset County’s Last One-Room Schoolhouse: South Branch, The History Girl, Kelly, 2015/02, https://www.thehistorygirl.com/2015/02/south-branch-schoolhouse-nj.html