Category Archives: Fruits

Goat Hill Overlook – Leaving work a little early to get outside on a beautiful week day.

Goat Hill Overlook is located on Coon Path in Lambertville.

Link to Hike information and map.

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The past few days have been absolutely beautiful, albeit unseasonably warm.  After some sneakily ingested halloween treats, the boys were boisterous and we all needed to escape to the outdoors.  We all put on our high-visibility clothes (it is deer hunting season!) and headed out to Goat Hill Overlook. During deer hunting season it is a good idea to always call ahead to see if the trails are open to the public.  You can go to the Sourland Conservancy’s website to see who owns the property and then call ahead of time to make sure the preserve is open.

Tom Ogren wrote a wonderful booklet titled, The Story of Goat Hill.  This preserve is the embodiment of the history of this area from the Revolutionary War to the hiding of moonshine inside blocks of  cheese during Prohibition and an epic battle to preserve this beautiful land. I don’t want to give anymore spoilers, you will have to read about it for yourself!  We always have copies of “The Story of Goat Hill” at our events, but you will also be able to purchase it on the Sourland Conservancy’s online store.

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A garter snake, Thamnophis spp., sunning itself on the trail.  This little one had a big ole’ bulge in its belly, which meant that it was probably digesting its last meal.  Garter snakes eat a variety of foods varying from slugs all the way to rodents. I hope that you are all proud of me for standing this close to take a photo.

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Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida, has perhaps the most deep red fall foliage in our area of the country.  Flowering Dogwood is a native tree which erupts into showy Spring blossoms encouraging pollinators and later into beautiful Fall foliage and berries providing sustenance for birds!

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These boys couldn’t contain their excitement for sprinting down the forest path.

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My big dude was jealous that my littlest got a piggy back, so he climbed on board for a ride too.

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White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima, seeds getting ready to fly.

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This multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora, caught some fur (or maybe jacket insulation?) in its thorns.

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In general I am not a fan of graffiti, particularly in parks but I’ll have to admit that I always smile when I see this heart.

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I love reaching the summit of a hike.  When the ground levels out and the sky opens up, it is like the world is saying “Welcome!”.

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I really love this preserve because the trail is wide and the hike is fairly easy and you are treated to this wonderful panorama.  It usually takes between 10-15 minutes to hike from the parking lot to the overlook, which makes this a great trail for almost anyone.  I am not sure if you would be allowed to drive up the trail although it is wide enough to accommodate a car to bring someone who is handicapped to the overlook, but I would call NJ DEP and inquire about the regulations concerning handicap access.

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Looking for boats.

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I think it can be easy to brush past conversations with small children because “they won’t remember”, but these are significant learning opportunities for all of us.  Slowing down and taking the time to just talk with children is important to them but it also benefits the adult. I don’t think I have ever thought quite as deeply about something as when my child keeps responding with “why” to every answer I give.  While at times, the reflexive “why” can be maddening, it also helps me refine my own understanding of the information I acquired and my personal beliefs.

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I enjoy my solo hikes in the Sourlands, but I really love watching my children play and explore the Sourlands.

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My big dude spotted this fort and immediately needed to investigate!

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Both of my dudes loved to play in here.  In our home, our sunroom is in a constant state of wooden train layouts and couch forts.  I’ve given into their need-to-build-things and just let them play, but I hope that perhaps after experiencing this “outside fort” that they will turn some of their energy into designing and building forts outdoors so that I can have my couches back.

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Beautiful dark blue lichen!

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Crab apples, Malus spp.  Apples are an introduced species from Asia, but many species have become naturalized.  Apples belong to the rose family, Rosaceae.  Many commercial fruit species belong to this family, pears, apricots, plums, nectarines, raspberries, blackberries, and almonds.

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The sun is setting earlier these days so we had to head back down the hill sooner than we would have liked.

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This T-Rex found a walking stick but wouldn’t hold still for a photo.  I suppose I should know better than to expect such a ferocious and fast animal to stay still for such a silly thing as a photo.

Omick Woods in Winter

Omick Woods is located on Rock Town Road in East Amwell, NJ.

Link to NJ Trails maps and description

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I really enjoy hiking in the late winter/early spring.  There is still the quiet and stillness of winter, but there are little hints of spring’s promise popping up.

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Spring Beauties, Claytonia virginica, working its way out of the blanket of leaves.

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Red maple, Acer rubrum, buds bursting at the seams.

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Tulip poplar, Lirodendron tulipifera, seeds ready for flight.

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Fruit of Shagbark Hickory, Carya Ovata, open and bare.

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Death.  Perhaps a leg bone of white tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus?