Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunfish Pond and Raccoon Ridge, Delaware Water Gap

Today was another gorgeous day for hiking with temperatures in the sixties and bright, full sun. We hiked 6.7 miles to Sunfish Pond and Raccoon Ridge at the Delaware Water Gap.

We started on the Douglas Trail and scrambled up the Sunfish drainage area.

The woods are beautiful here, very open and filled with sunlight.

We are rewarded for our steep ascent with our first beautiful view of Sunfish Pond.

I have taken so many photos from this vantage point, but every time I cannot resist another picture from this overlook.

Another view of Sunfish Pond

Relaxing by the pond

Next we walked on the Appalachian Trail to Raccoon Ridge, with beautiful vistas on both sides. This side overlooks some reservoirs. The ridge is a popular area for birding. Some people were counting raptors in early Fall migration. They said they saw a lot of broad winged hawks, and even a bald eagle in the distance.

On the other side of the ridge we see the Delaware River. Even the Catskills are visible in the far distance.

Overlooking the Delaware River. Why is there a plastic owl on a post by my head? Hawks are known to mob owls, and this owl may bring them in for the birders to get a closer look. I have heard this story many times, they have a similar fake owl on Hawk Mountain, but I have never actually seen a hawk mob an owl!

Next we went down the Garvey Springs Trail.

These fern covered woods were pretty in the afternoon light.

At the end of our hike we were rewarded with the view of a waterfall.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Appalachian Trail To Wind Gap, Pennsylvania

Today we hiked 6 miles from the Katellen Trail to Wind Gap along the Appalachian Trail. It was a clear and slightly cool day, absolutely perfect weather for hiking. I had the pleasure of introducing my friend from Connecticut to Pennsylvania's lovely, ankle strengthening, rocky trails!

We hiked .9 miles up the Katellen Trail. Now we were ready to hike along the ridge to Wind Gap. We had beautiful outlooks on both sides of the ridge.

 First of many beautiful outlooks

I saw a lot of mushrooms on the trail, evidence of the wet weather we've had lately.

More interesting fungus...

Another overlook

Clear skies and late Summer weather

Back at the trail head in Wind Gap!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11, Then and Now

September 11 is one of those iconic events that every American remembers differently depending on the circumstances of their life.

I was still reeling from the death of my own husband two years earlier from cancer, and now I was witnessing another community of people being thrown into grief, this time not from a relentless illness, but from an unspeakable act of violence. To know that these people were entering the depths of despair from an act of conscious will was unthinkable to me, then and still now.

But at the time the shock was too great to ask why or how or what is the meaning. Those questions didn't matter. We were all living together the human experience of lives cut short way too soon and the raw pain of death and loss and grief.

Now we are ten years removed from that awful day. No grief ever leaves completely, it becomes part of the experience with which we create our lives, and our outlook, and our hopes and dreams. Every American has incorporated this into their own personal history in a unique way.

For me, I choose to live in a society that honors those we have lost, and comforts those who suffer, and welcomes those who were once strangers but now are cherished friends. We are now touched by the reality of war, some of us with losses deeply personal, others from being in community with those who grieve. How even more urgent is the need to work for peace, to cherish diversity, to establish bonds of understanding and friendship with people in our neighborhood and across the world.

May this day of grief become a day of consolation and may we work with heart and soul to remove the scourge of war from our globe.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bethlehem Vegfest 2011

Today I went to Bethlehem's first ever Vegfest on the South Side Bethlehem Greenway.There were plenty of ecofriendly and natural vendors, presentations, music, and, of course, food!

The ever popular Vegan Treats Bakery

Plenty of vendors selling animal free products

The line for food at Balasia. Someone asked me what they should get. I said "It doesn't matter. Whatever they're selling, buy it. It will be good". I had the Buddha bowl and some peanut butter bites for dessert.

Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House, a vegan blog and podcast. They spoke about food as activism. They gave three reasons to go vegan: our health, the environment, and, of course, animals!

Vegfest was family friendly, plenty of activities for kids!

Here I am with Lydia (far left) and Chris (far right) of From A to Vegan and Jamie from Save the Kales.

Lydia, me, Jamie, and Chris

Plenty of live music

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Pulpit Rock and Pinnacle, Berks County, Pennsylvania

Today was a hazy day for a hike to Pulpit Rock and Pinnacle in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Most of our hiking was along the Appalachian Trail. It was a warm and humid day, but we occasionally felt some cool breezes. Despite the devastation left in many areas by last week's hurricane Irene, the trails were mostly undamaged with only a scattering of some branches on the path.

The view from Pulpit Rock

Hazy view of some Pennsylvania farmland from the Pinnacle

More Pinnacle views

The early stage of Autumn hawk migration should be well under way by now. I didn't see any migrating hawks today, and I checked the Hawk Mountain website and their bird count was also very low. The conditions must not be right yet for flying South! I  managed to catch a view of this vulture in flight from Pinnacle.

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