Here are some casual pictures taken while hiking the Appalachian Trail along the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey this weekend. The leaves are just starting to turn, a bit late this year. The ridges of the eastern Appalachians are the remnants of ancient mountains, deeply marked and scoured by glaciers.
At some points on the trail the peak of this particular ridge is quite narrow, affording views in all directions. At other points it broadens to encompass dense forest and glacial lakes.
I am particularly fond of the Trail as it passes along the Blue Ridge Mountains through the Shenandoah Valley National Park. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is headquartered in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. The AT runs as a continuous hiking trail for about 2,180 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. That is a hundred miles further than the walking distance from London to Istanbul.
Age has rounded the ridges of the eastern Appalachians as they pass through New Jersey into rolling lines of stone running parallel to the north northeast.
It is from the escarpment of the first Watchung Ridge furthest east that Washington directed the movements of his troops as he cut off the retreat of General Howe to New York City in 1777.
THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, God's Grandeur
Sunfish Pond on the Kittatinny Ridge
North West To the Delaware River
South to Blairstown, NJ