Alltrails is a great app that I use to find hikes that fit me. Looking at a 30 minute or less travel time led me to New Jersey. So this week I went to Stokes State Forest to try out the Red Maple and Steffens trails. About halfway you can add extra distance and go to the Ladder Trail, which leads to the Appalachian Trail and a scenic overlook from the Kittatinny Ridge. I decided to save that for another day.
I wasn’t disappointed with this hike – a bit wilder with a much less traveled path, and only one other person seen on it. And that person was on a bicycle, which was quite a surprise.
The weather was warm, but too windy to stop and try a sketch, so these were done later at home.
Fallen trees did not block the trail, instead there were some to climb over and some to go under. A white fluffy deer tail was all I spotted as it bounded away, same with the back end of a large turkey who did not like me so close. I saw lots of eastern skunk cabbage, which added nice pops of green along wet areas.
Shortly after starting I stopped – to rest, of course, but also to really appreciate my surroundings and give thanks for being able to enjoy the fresh air, nature and solitude that replenish my spirit. Grateful!