April 11, 2013
I’ll be honest: I don’t have much to say about stumps.
The word “stumptown” popped into my head while I was considering this fact.
I couldn’t quite place the word, so I Googled it.
I, being a comics nerd, was probably thinking of Stumptown Comics Fest (April 27-28 in Portland, OR), one of the well-known comics festivals around North America. But it’s also the name of a coffee company and some other things.
None of this has anything to do with New Jersey or, in particular, this stump, but so it goes.
April 8, 2013
In January, I reported that the New Providence section of the Passaic River Park was impassible. I’ve been back to those woods a couple times since, but it’s always been difficult and disappointing.
THIS HAS SINCE CHANGED (!!!).
Some gang sawed through that giant mess of trees… AND BLAZED IT. (I’ve been meaning to blaze it forever!) Neon orange marks now dot the previously unmarked trail, guiding hikers across un-trail-like areas that they’d never think to hike otherwise. Example below: hello
random patch of weeds new trail.
For several of the larger logs that blocked the path, rather than cut them up… they’re simply part of the trail now. Volunteers have added steps to help hikers hop over logs.
It is AWESOME. Excellent work. I don’t know who you are, mysterious team of trail volunteers, but I love you, and if you want a hand with the next go-round, PLEASE let me help. You’ve rocked my world!
January 26, 2013
Last night, some coworkers and I left the office together, and we were surprised to find the world covered in half an inch of snow, with more falling as we walked.
“This is the first real snow we’ve had in, like, two years!” said one of my coworkers, excitedly.
I turned to her, to argue the point, and realized: New York City hasn’t had much of any snow for a couple of winters. All the snow has been falling in New Jersey.
We admittedly didn’t have much last year, but we’ve had two or three so far this winter. There was a nor’easter—which I took a vacation day for—and there was another four-or-five inch snowfall last month, which stuck around for the next three weeks. A couple weeks ago, I woke to the sound of snowplows at 4:30AM.
This may be the first snow that’s stuck to New York ground in two years, but New Jersey has been no stranger to snow during that time.
…And half an inch doesn’t count as “real snow!”
January 22, 2013
I dunno, sometimes I just think, “man, wouldn’t it be cool to get a close look at some kind of tiny budding pine-thing?” Doesn’t that ever cross YOUR mind?
January 20, 2013
So there you are, in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, hiking through the Passaic River Parkway, and suddenly you see a bazillion big weird things that look like hollow candles.
“What the heck!” you say.
You lean close to peer at a label, and learn that these hollow-candle-things are TREE TUBES.
But what on earth are “tree tubes?”
These tree tubes protect native saplings from being browsed and damaged by deer and also act as a mini “greenhouse”, allowing light to filter through and moisture to become trapped within. Once the saplings reach the top of the tubes they (the tubes) will be removed by Parks staff.
For more information about our native plantings please call:
So that’s that.
January 5, 2013
The Summit/New Providence leg of the Passaic River Park is very close to where I live, and it’s a lovely quiet place to hike when I don’t feel like driving 20 minutes to some big overhyped state park.
Trail maintenance is performed irregularly by volunteers. The section of the trail near me has always been a little neglected, so I periodically go out there with hedge clippers and work gloves, and clean up the trail so it’s nice and hikeable.
Today was my first time out there since Sandy.
Large swaths of the trail are completely obliterated.
Giant 100-foot trees snapped in half—like twigs—then fell on other 100-foot trees, and brought down huge patches of the forest all in one fell swoop. Now there are huge piles of logs blocking the trails, and there’s no way to climb over them, or under them, or around them.
Normally, if the trail is blocked by a tree that I can’t move, I’d simply move the trail around the obstacle… but obstacles of this magnitude require a complete restructuring of the trail, which is a pretty ambitious project. And I didn’t see any obvious alternative routes while I was out there.
This goes beyond my ability to clean up.
Tho’ maybe if I had a chainsaw…
December 25, 2012
Merry Christmas, if you celebrate.
December 19, 2012
I guess it’s a matter of practicality, but when I go hiking, I expect to find nature, not fire hydrants.
December 16, 2012
If you live in the U.S., you’re probably familiar with white-tailed deer. Most of them are, y’know, brown.
Every now and then you’ll find an albino deer, which is all white with pink eyes.
And sometimes, you’ll find a deer that doesn’t quite fit into either category. These spotty brown-and-white deer are PIEBALDS.
Like albinism, piebald is a rare genetic thing: less than 1% of the deer population is piebald. It’s frequently associated with other weird physical stuff, like a bowed (“Roman”) nose, short or deformed legs, a curved spine, short lower mandible (overbite), and internal organ deformities.
This piebald buck— either a young button buck or a buck who’d recently shed his antlers, but I’m not familiar enough with deer to make an educated assertion— seemed pretty physically normal to my inexpert eyes… except that he was out at the wrong time of day, and totally unafraid of people.
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. (2012). “Deer: Frequently asked questions.” http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/faq.asp#piebald-deer.