Got a bit of cabin fever this afternoon and decided on a drive over the hill (literally) to the Walpack area to find something interesting to photograph for this blog. Really.
It was dreary and spritzing snow as I approached Peter’s Valley. I had to stop and get a picture of one of my favorite trees.
This old tree is huge – the picture doesn’t do it justice, but as you can see, the branches stretch clear across the road. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, and each time I still marvel at this one, even though I’ve seen others in this area just as large, just as impressive, and just as old. For some reason, this one speaks to me.
The camera batteries were starting to fade, so the photo is a little darker than I’d hoped, but I think you can see the ‘blue mountains,’ the name given to this particular ridge at Walpack Center by the folks who settled in this valley in the 1700s.
Around the bend and through the woods from Walpack Center is Buttermilk Falls – another favorite spot.
Because of the weak camera batteries, I didn’t risk a photo of the marsh hawk that was hunting the fields on the way out from the falls. The white rump patch caught my eye right away. Without that, I might have missed the hawk hunting low over the tall grasses and scrub.
Instead of returning home the way I’d come through Walpack Center, I opted for another dirt road. This one is a favorite birding road in the spring, summer, and fall, but today there wasn’t a bird in sight. The road pretty much requires a 4 x 4, though it looks like the park service has scraped some of the worst ravines so the hunters and fishermen can get through.
I came upon this tree – broken and dying, with a strange concoction of innards hanging out of it. On approach, it looked like some poor creature – a bear maybe, had gotten stuck in the tree and died and was just hanging there decomposing! But no, it’s just inner bark, plant fibers, and…well…stuff. My camera batteries, however, did die at this moment and I wasn’t even sure it had taken this picture. I’ll have to go back soon and have another look at this!
I’m charging the camera batteries, and hoping for either a good snow fall, or a nice sunny day. Either way…I’m going back for more. I’m grateful that I live only minutes away from this area. Life is good.