I was clearing out my email when I stopped to read one from the Sourland Conservancy. I learned that a new member of their staff, Carolyn Klaube, had a website detailing her hikes along the Sourland Mountain range trails. Carolyn has been hiking the trails - alone or with assistance from her two young boys - through the seasons, photographing items of interest, and sharing random facts and links to learn more.
Carolyn wrote about her discovery of a new mini-park, Zion Crossing, along Hollow Road on the border with Skillman and Hillsborough. Carolyn’s blog is called, Sourland Niche and I spent almost an hour reading it before I came upon the post that prompted this blog post.
According to the Montgomery Township website:
This land is located directly adjacent to 300 acres of other Montgomery, Hillsborough and Somerset County-owned open space. These new acquisitions will further expand the Township’s “Rock Brook Greenway” project area. Rock Brook, with headwaters in the Sourlands, is Montgomery’s highest quality stream and trout-stocked waters. By preserving these properties, and others in the Sourlands, the Township is protecting water quality and securing contiguous forest canopy. When woodland is cleared for development, a “hole” in the tree canopy is created. Many susceptible species, particularly birds which migrate through the Sourlands, require a certain area of contiguous forest to successfully forage, breed and nest.
I was excited to visit Zion Crossing. The day before reading Carolyn’s post, Bhavna and I had visited my favourite spot along Hollow Road. A small patch of gravel on the northern side of the road allows access to a clearing in the trees and a path leads down to the Rock Brook. I told Bhavna about Carolyn’s post and the new park and we agreed to find it the next weekend.
It was easy to find. Carolyn provided a Google Map link to the location. We almost drove past the entrance. There is a very small sign to the unpaved roadway to the parking area.
Getting out of the car we could immediately hear running water. A trail leads down from the parking area to the Rock Brook. We saw a picnic table with an umbrella. I made a mental note to come back with a picnic basket when the weather is cooler.
Bhavna walked down to the water the area while I looked around taking in the scene and thinking through what photographs I might capture. I set up high on the bank just above the rocks but struggled with the camera settings. I eventually gave up and walked down to where Bhavana was. We could see a small waterfall pouring into a rocky beach. I set up there.
I spent most of my time listening to the water, the wind in the leaves, and taking photos. I head Bhavna exclaim in joy at seeing fish in the water. She sat on a rock and waited for me to finish taking my photos. I watched her relaxing.