Rocky Brook Trail is located on Rt. 518 in East Amwell.
Sometimes, it just gets away from me. On one of the first days of September, I hiked the Rocky Brook Trail. So many responsibilities and events came up and time flew by. With the busyness of life, I just did not have a chance to sit down and write.
Unlike some of my other more tedious tasks that can be easily forgotten, writing about my hikes is a calming and reflective time for me. When I think about Rocky Brook Trail and as I look at my pictures, I am transported back to that chilly and quiet morning.
My morning hikes in Spring and Summer were loud and boisterous, filled with the sounds of millions of organisms attending to their daily business. But in this chilly morning air, all is quiet. Many of the insects have mated, laid eggs and perished. Some of the birds have begun their migration to their winter homes, while others remain under a metaphorical blanket this morning until the temperature rises a bit more. Then they will emerge from their night’s lodging place and commence their day.
I have been asked a few times recently if I take notes when I hike. The answer is “sort of”. I don’t write anything down, but I use my pictures to bring me back to the sights and sensations of the particular location.
As I walk through a preserve, I try to be mindful. I focus on what I am experiencing…what the air smells like, what I hear, what the ground looks like and feels like under my boots, what I see in front of me, below, above and on my periphery.
My intention is to be fully present. There are times that I forget to take pictures, especially when I become entranced by a beautiful animal or when I am lost in a meditation while gazing at the water as it meanders around rocks and tree roots. There is so much beauty. I often lose track of time as I watch the leaves fall slowly and gracefully from the tree canopy.
A Spined Micrathena, Micrathena gracilis. The Punk Rock spider of the Sourlands 😉I have never seen the Stony Brook this shallow! I have been to this trail a few times since May and was not able to cross the stream because the water was very high. Desiccated lithophytes. A lithophyte is a plant that grows on bare rocks. These plants were once under the water. But with the lack of rain, they were exposed and subsequently, dried up.Crustose lichens up close. Death in the Sourlands. This is a decaying body of some sort of moth or butterfly. I attempted to identify it but soon gave up. There are so many amazing butterflies and moths in New Jersey but I don’t know enough about them to tell the difference without their wing markings.
Check out this link to see the moths and butterflies of New Jersey. I think I would faint if I saw a Scarlet Winged Lichen moth!Water striders breaking the surface tension of the water.White Wood Aster, Eurybia divaricata. The contrast between the rocks and the forest canopy was mesmerizing.What gorgeous and welcoming steps into the forest!Peace.Bottle brush grass, Elymus hystrix. This grass is just about the only grass that I can identify with confidence!I cannot get enough of these beautiful spider webs in the morning sunshine!American Hogpeanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata. I am getting more and more curious about what these Hogpeanuts taste like!Great blue Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica, looking stunning this morning.Chicory, Cichorium intybus, is an invasive. But I am not going to lie. I love these gorgeous flowers.