Northwest New Jersey is a different world, forested mountains cut by marshy valleys, old farmland dotted with beaver ponds and lakes — all looked over by the highest point in the state, 1,800 feet above the shore.
Back when Dave and I were doing crazy things like the World Series, this was my part of the state to scout, and we got to know it pretty well: the park roads to drive for Cerulean Warblers, where to listen for Vesper Sparrows, which barns might have a pair or six of Cliff Swallows.
I hadn’t been back to that so beautiful part of the state for a long time, so Alison and Gellert and I set out this afternoon to refresh our memories. We started by visiting some of the marshes in the eastern part of the county — most of them sites I’d never been to in the daylight! — then headed up to High Point, where, as usual in the winter, access was severely limited for those of us not a-ski. Still, you can’t beat the views: the Delaware below, mountains to the north, open country to the east.
It was plenty warm enough for a walk, so we sneaked across the border into that large state to our north, joining the throngs enjoying the beautiful afternoon on the Liberty Loop.
It wasn’t exactly birdy, but who really cares on a day like this? It felt like a bit of a homecoming to be in that part of the world again, and I’ve already taken firm resolve to spend as much time as I can there this spring.