The start of this week had absolutely gorgeous weather. For the past few weeks I was relentlessly blowing leaves to earn my keep. Lacey dog needed a flea bath because all that fun in the blowing leaves had a price for her to pay. For a mid November the air generally has been warm, some grasses maintained a vibrant green and bright yellow dandelions continued to bloom by the roadside. Mostly the colorful leaves have departed and bare naked trees stand waiting for winters first cover of heavy snowfall. At times boredom sank in while making a daily round by foot in the chilled rain but the bright red berries dotting the shoreline brought a smile .
Red Berries at Lakeside
The Trail by Cranberry Lake
At the local Cranberry Lake dock two husky men attempted to fish. One man wore a navy blue T-shirt with bold white lettering, advertising a trucking company. Luckily they both found employment at a trucking company, one has five children and told me that he was grateful to be working. “Years ago the economy was not that bad when I started my family but today there are mounting economic concerns,” he explained. His friend just grinned and nodded while continuing to spin a fishing line into the lake water. He diligently worked the line to gain a strategic position that would bring in a good catch. Hopefully on this rainy day the forlorn trucker will be able to provide enough fresh fish to feed his entire hungry family. I picked up my walking pace and decided to head over to the entrance of the Sussex Branch trail.
The Sussex Branch Trail
Surprisingly my eyes could now search through the woods without any distraction of autumns plentiful foliage. A squirrel scurried up a fallen log and thrust its body onto a large tree. This year there were tons of acorns and walnuts for animals to have a huge feast. Undoubtedly, their tree lined nests must be overloaded with enough supplied nuts to last well into another season!
With heavy rainfall comes miniature seas of water and a huge black puddle crossed my path. Scaling the muddy side and looming over this newly created body of water with a duck umbrella in hand to take a few reflective photos was not an easy task. The rain drops created rippling ringlets for floating leaves to be tossed around like miniature boats. Fairies came to my mind as groups of colorful leaves could still be found against the wet wooded landscape. It was a contemplative day and I pondered about how one could edit most captures to create an imaginary land waiting to be discovered.
It was sun-down, the dense woods quickly became very dark, still and quiet. Not a gray squirrel or native bird species could be heard rustling about the fragile dry fallen leaves. All the brown acorns, colorful red, blue berries were collected for a day. It was a time for animals to seek out home shelters that are lined into vine draped hollowed out trees and moss dressed fallen logs. There was an overwhelming sense of peace within the deep golden opulent light embracing the lake and brooks. I decided to venture off trail to seize another perspective of this vast serene lake. In order to avoid stepping on any small critters, I took meaningful steps through thickly lined ground cover and dense prickly bushed foliage. Suddenly as I turned around heading back to my Cannondale mountain bicycle there appeared out of no-where, a silver white-haired man. He was walking directly into my path. Was this an undercover man in black? Congressman? CEO? A conservation trail agent in disguise? It was quite inconvenient to see a well attired man in the woods. After-all, my trail-side dress consisted of wearing deceased dads muted green cotton canvas Trails End jacket, my hair tucked up under a bright woolen red beret and soiled black stretched bicycle pants. A total messy sight in the woods with a bicycle and a camera! He observed that I was taking pictures and communicated his surprise to see what the lake had to offer from another angle. With camera in hand this gentleman precisely point clicked at the lakeside. I failed to mention about any blood thirsty tics, fleas, snakes that could be encountered in a wooded environment. Perhaps people have to experience the finding of pricking seeded thorns in-bedded into clothing after ventures in the woods. It has to be a earned right of passage that an adventurer must endure. A process of acceptance by the trail-side woods. He did suggest that the lake must possess beautiful lighting at sunrise. I cited about the black bears and expressed my concerns to never venture alone at that time on a desolate trail. We had a brief conversation about trail conditions for bicycle riding and size of tires that works best for riding a rugged terrain. The conversation flowed into my earlier day-time discovery, a description about a woman who zipped along the trail but also stopped her travel to say hello. Fortunately, I was able to capture the tire! She had a groovy cool Trek mountain bicycle that had fitted super wide black rubberized tires to its specifically designed and re-engineered frame. After my inspection I found out that this generation of trail transportation was also light weight! It would also be a wonder to see a solar-powered mechanism attached to it! Now that would be a ride! The mysterious man and I parted, going our separate ways like we had found each other. I shouted out about where he could find my captures on the web and at LemonChronicle. Hey! You have to network everywhere and even in the woods at sun-down!
This past Sunday was too much fun on the trail. I discovered that trails are not only made for exploration of nature but of people too. Fall-icious includes the celebration of meeting life. Word is getting out that the Sussex Branch Trail, New Jersey is THE PLACE to locally absorb everything nature has to offer. (By the way I would like to make a shout out, if you can financially donate to this trail you can click hereand make a much-needed donation at their website.) I noticed many hikers, bikers taking the time for pictures. The day was exceptionally crispy cool and sunny. Excellent shadows cast against the woods and reflecting detailed images, colors onto brooks. A wonderful setting for capturing natures seasonal change that is now quickly spiraling into winter. It was quite an unusual day! Nothing that I have ever experienced before but truly a delight! I parked the bicycle onto the side of the trail and found people to be much friendlier. One couple stumbled out of a heavily leafed debris trail and decided to take a breather. They explained to me the best time enjoyed on the trail happens when it snows. It is a winter wonderland experience with snow-capped trees bending over the trail. This couple also uses trail time to reconnect with each other. Further down the trail hikers could be heard coming towards my direction but these campers were not four-legged prancing albino deer. Two gorgeous white greyhounds, yes they were white and not grey! The greyhounds were a bit camera-shy and very anxious to continue down the trail. During the course of this beautiful day a studious looking character that probably knew all the tree types allowed me to take a photo. A miniature collie, however, I was pleasantly corrected by its owner that this was no ordinary small collie but a Sheltie dog. As I continued on my journey two darlings captivated my eye! Both were boldly strutting their stuff and very investigative about what adventure lay ahead on the trail. I could tell these pooches were loving every minute of the day too! The tiny Boston Terrier was bouncing around and flashing her stunning glittering diamond studded collar. A bit over dressed for the trail but her security Bull Dog was prepared to take care of any bear bandit lurking behind a tree or rock!
Who could forget sweet back packing Gracey! A total prepper, ready for any disaster on the trail. Her owner said to be ready because Gracey is the type of dog that loves to lick. And, she was beaming friendliness like my lick loving dog Lacey!
I took the time to ask the owners how they came about finding their perfect pet. And you will be pleased to know that the owners took the time to find a rescue group for that particular breed. My trail visit was indeed the perfect capture of a truly happy day! For those that can support a shelter, rescue group, please do it now! The following captures are just a few taken from today! There are still more Fall-icious captures to come! 🙂
Today, Saturday, the sky has cast a very gloomy gray color. There is a dense cloud cover with no sunlight to shimmer through the woods. What was once decorated with vibrant color is now a swamp preparing itself for winter. In a thick brush I could barely see a black bear swinging its head back and forth holding nose in air. As usual, it was trying to cross over a busy route. I did not stop and just yelled out “bear go back”. November weather is warm and the bears hesitate going into hibernation. Luckily there are still some wild berries and grapes. But the berries are drying out. And, it may be the reason for the bears to be hitting local garbage cans for food. This past week, the night before garbage pick up, overturned cans littered the street. In a few weeks if the weather continues to be warm there will be an adjustment to their food palate. Today I will stay off the trails. Over to the side of a parking lot, piled up by the wind were striking yellow and green leaves. Naturally bright and in need of no sunshine, I just had to capture its beauty. Seedlings sheltered and nestled in-between golden-yellow, vibrant green leaves.
Surprisingly, my Fall-icious Collection keeps growing! Even though the season is winding down and the trees, foliage are becoming stark naked, patches of Autumn colors drapes the grounds.
And I still have previous weeks captures to post …
But in a few short weeks this will end. Sigh! I may squeeze in another fall season at this location while working to construct a tiny house on wheels from found materials etc. The plan is to rent land and spend time at farms to gain more creative inspiration and applying it to canvas. It would be grand to erect a portable framed out canvas wall tent as an art studio. Living off grid will also include its daily tasks of collecting wood, gardening and maintaining a site. Overall, it will be a healthier lifestyle. It is a must to venture out seeking peace of mind and an alternate lifestyle when there is absolutely no sustainable employment in sight at cities, suburbs. It makes sense to make every day a Fall-icious day!
Over the weekend I went on a trip to New York and took a few photos. My battery went dead very fast which was a disappointment. I did not have the time to charge it up fully prior to leaving New Jersey or I would have been very late for a dinner engagement. However, sometimes a few captures turns out best and I will return to that location at winter time. And, I had some fun doing photo editing on just these few New York captures.
Now back to New Jersey and my unedited trail-side photos –
It is amazing how nature imprints its own question mark on a leaf! A very precious find!