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South Mountain in Autumn

Every nice fall day this year, I’m treating like it’s the last. Like winter is going to roll in tomorrow and cover everything in white. It puts a nice focus on little things like having my morning coffee outside on the deck.

So this afternoon Brandy and I enjoyed a warm sunny day walking through some of the scenic environs of South Mountain Reservation. Here’s a few snaps.

The official greeter near the parking lot is a group of three trees grown together, which from some angles look like a horse, or an elephant.

Horsehead Tree

One of our favorite spots has always been Hemlock Falls. After the three inches of rain earlier this week, this 35-foot cascade was in fine form. (Click for a larger image.)

Falls from a distance

The falls have a “baby sister” just to the north. By some trick of the light, the water really did look that blue today.

Small Falls

At one point, Brandy started sniffing around the leaves at the edge of the waterfall. This might be a good time to tell you that Brandy is a dog, by the way. I thought she might have found a particularly interesting wild mushroom or something so I pulled away a few inches of leaf mulch to see what lay beneath. Now I haven’t seen one of these in a long time.

Pop Top

Now I actually had to explain to Claire (my 15-year old human daughter) what this is. If you’re too young to remember, soda and beer cans used to have detachable pop-tops. By the late 1970s these little pieces of sharp aluminum had been casually tossed absolutely everywhere. One the sidewalk, on the beach, in the forest, anywhere people went they dropped these things. Some states actually banned them, and by 1980 or so they weren’t made anymore. But they live in in their rust-proof aluminum incarnation until heaven knows when.

We took a quick hop over the deer bridge that crosses busy South Orange Avenue.

Deer Bridge

That’s Brandy, by the way. Just across the bridge is a cathedral-like stand of tall pines.

Pine Grove

The last year or so there are these lean-to shelter built at the bases of a few of them. It’s either a creepy Blair-Witch-Project thing, or else something some Boy Scouts did. I’ve never seen any sign that they’re being used.


That was about enough. That section of the Rez is pretty steep and my knees were hurting. Brandy, who is roughly my equivalent age in dog-years, had no problems and dashed up and down the steepest slopes with great enthusiasm. When the first cold snap comes, I need to get up there and take some pictures of the falls when they’re frozen — it’s a sight.

Tom McGee has been building web sites since 1995, and blogging here since 2006. Currently a senior developer at Seton Hall University, he's also a freelance web programmer and musician. Contact him if you have the need for a blog, web site, redesign or custom programming!

2 thoughts on “South Mountain in Autumn”

  1. Thanks. An update on Brandy, after running around for a couple of hours like a pup a fraction of her age she was pretty sore later on. It was a struggle just to jump up on the furniture.

    We humans can (usually) act our age and pace ourselves, but dogs I guess don’t know any better!

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