Brian Hester Reporting
March 1, 2020
Way back in 1845 Henry David Thoreau left behind “civilization” to begin a two-year experiment in living. He would exist, alone, in a small one room cabin, fishing for his food and being alone with his thoughts. Perhaps the pace of life back in 1845 had gotten to hectic. In 2020 I like to shut off the cell and walk in the woods. Deep into the woods. Uninhabited woods. Carrying only some water, snacks and cameras, always cameras. Hiking can be treacherous and carrying the gear adds its own weight. What if I drop something? What if I fall? Protect the gear at all costs. Why am I carrying this equipment out into the woods? Oh, right, I hoping to encounter some wildlife to photograph. I see it as a primitive stalking instinct. Hunt to survive. But I have a Food Town supermarket right down the road plus I couldn’t really shot anything let alone hurt a fly. Seriously, when I find a spider in the house, I put a cup over it and slide a piece of paper underneath and then walk it outside and let it go. Free. Unharmed. I digress.
Yesterday I took a long walk, camera harnessed to shoulders, through some nice trails in Passaic County, NJ at High Mountain Park Preserve. Only a short car or bus, (take NJ Transit bus 198 to William Paterson University, last stop and ask for the trails) ride from NYC, these trails offer scenic views of the NYC skyline. I had hoped not only to connect with nature and disconnect from most of modern technology for a few hours but also to capture some beautiful photos of animals or birds.
For additional info on High Mountain Park Preserve click here.
I walked with one of my closest friends on the entire planet. We walked along chatting about life and the world. Occasionally, I would mention that I hadn’t seen any wildlife. Then I would stop and take a photo of some inanimate object, a tree, a trail marker, tiny frost crystals pushing up through the soil on the edge of the trail. My friend would stop and wait patiently for me to finishing shooting. She always stops and waits. I think she is one of the few people who truly understand how disconnected from the world I get when I start shooting photos. She is one of my closest friends.
Two hours of hiking and not one wild creature. I got home and didn’t bother to look at the photos for a few reasons; 1) I assumed I didn’t have any cool pics, and 2) wanted to get to sleep early to rest up for first flight. I had a chance to look at the pictures taken yesterday in the woods today, after my plane flying experience. While they were not at all what I went in looking for I thought they were very well done, and I was happy with them. Surprise. Reminds me of something a photog friend of mine told, “Always keep shooting til the end – no matter what” Enjoy the ice crystal pics.
By the way, I did mention that this hike has spectacular views of the NYC skyline, however yesterday we did not walk that trail. If interested in that view, park at the Red trail lot and hike until you meet the Yellow trail, take yellow trail to scenic vistas and then the Yellow trail circles back to make a loop with te Red Trail back to parking lot.
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