Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

One of the promises Melissa and I made to ourselves is that during the summer we would go hiking more often. For those of you who are not familiar with the Garden State, New Jersey contains numerous opportunities for both the novice and experienced hiker. Unfortunately we didn’t hike as much as we liked, as wedding plans and traveling ate up much of our summertime.

As I awoke to a beautiful sunny Columbus Day, I started to sort out the errands I needed to accomplish. Melissa did not have the day off but would arrive home early afternoon. The night before we mulled over the idea of going for a late afternoon hike—one last chance to grasp warm weather and peaceful natural elements before the onset of winter. Although not originally enthusiastic about hiking after a long working morning, Melissa acquiesced and we trekked off for a brief two-hour march through the woods.

We chose a couple of trails near the Ramapo Mountains in Ringwood State Park off of Skyline Drive and Route 287. LocalHikes.com listed the “Ramapo Overlook to Lake Todd and Waterfall” as moderately difficult and lasting roughly ninety minutes. Two trails make up this hike: the white Todd Trail is a rocky, winding path that requires comfortable footwear (I especially do not recommend wearing shoes with worn rubber soles) and leads to a clearing overlooking Oakland Township. The second trail is the yellow blazing trail and intersects with the white trail along a woody road wide enough for official ranger vehicles. Like the white Todd Trail, the yellow trail is rocky and consists of a few moderately steep parts. Nearing the end you will run into Lake Todd, a small pond hidden in the depths of the forest. Covered with lilly pads and brush, Lake Todd has some surrounding areas that are secluded, perfect for a brief lunch. We continued on our journey and reached the point where, as indicated in LocalHikes.com, a brook intersected with the trail. Unfortunately, the rocks that marked the location of the brook were dry; water did not flow. Given the eighty-plus degree weather, the lack of a running stream, and that we needed to return home soon, we decided to turn back and cut short our quest to the waterfall.

Ringwood State Park and the Ramapo Mountains possess a plethora of trials that cannot be completed in a day, let alone the two-hour timeframe Melissa and I allocated for ourselves. As I noticed the emergence of fall foliage and the browns and reds bleeding out from what was once green, I realized summer had long ended. Yes, the thermometer read eighty-plus degrees but the natural cycle of the changing seasons continues unabated.

Exhausted and out-of-breath, we hiked out of the forest with contentment. I know I cannot stop the warm weather from disappearing. But I realize that the winter months also have their own unique qualities and I look forward to them with anticipated glee.

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