I finally got off of the beach.  Fall was clearly a fact and I felt the need to explore and enjoy it.

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This is the famous Chrysanthemum Mountain planted annually at Ott’s Nursery in Schwenksville, PA.  This used to be a destination on a fall Sunday drive with the family, and it’s still an amazing and entertaining site.  The scene is dominated by a gigantic greenhouse of Victorian, Moorish lines.  The adjacent store is of field-stone construction with windows with diamond mullions suggesting old Europe.  Here, the mountain can be seen reflected in one of the windows.

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  I had seen a couple of Facebook posts by photo-friend Ken Curtis of a place called Ken Lockwood Gorge.  It looked great and was only an hour and a half away so off I went.  I didn’t (have to) explore very much of it to enjoy the views.

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I found it hard to believe that I was still in New Jersey, thinking Vermont along the gorge.  These scenes also brought to mind past mentors such as Kurt Budliger, Joe Rossbach, Ian Plant and Richard Bernabe.

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Other scenes also made my camera squirm with excitement.  You’ve got to give them their head once in a while.

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But don’t forget what Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home … There’s no place like  … There’s no  ………  “

Even without a decent pair of ruby slippers I found fall near home.  This scene is by a tiny falls on Sharps Run on the Yellow Trail at Medford Leas.  The stream had carried these leaves along to the falls’ edge where they were hung up.  The small current, then, just swirled around them.

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Along the Red Trail I found these Viburnum berries pretending to be Holly, a worthwhile effort.

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Finally (and what triggered this post) I sat down early in my sun room with a morning coffee and wake-up music.  As the sun worked its way above the eastern campus there was a magical interval of soft red and yellow light.  Though still in my bathrobe I managed to get out and photograph it and return before Campus Security was called by any neighbors.  What a great start to the day!

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One morning after the recent nor’easter I went camera-ing.  What had been the shoal waters of Sharp’s Walk (Run) had changed.  The tide had come in.  

It was nice to see the swirling waters, and the rain, having washed away the dust, had made the greens more vivid.


Even more important there was a new set of wildflower varieties along the red trail.


The trails were still there but some required special “navigation”.

Just follow the red trail marks.


I spent about an hour last Sunday morning on the trails along Sharp’s Run at Medford Leas, enjoying seeing the awakening of plants and trees.  It’s nice to see the feathery foliage emerging on the trees but our lack of rain shows in the shallow Sharp’s Run.

Here’s a Redbud.  It wasn’t on the trails; it’s along the walk in front of the Estaugh Building but it was too pretty against a cloud pattern of branches to be left out.


Back on the Red Trail here’s a crab apple that I photographed last week and, below, the same branch last Sunday.  This is the trail where I watch a local walk her several exhuberant Jack Russell terriers and her collie most mornings.  Last month one morning I watched five deer move smartly down this trail, and last week a Red Fox crossed my grass and headed for the trail.

The Red Trail Crabapple (see above) a week later.

There are lots of wildflowers happy to be here along the Yellow Trail.  Here are two for whose names I’m in debt to Maggie Heineman.

Spring Beauty

Spring Cress Cardamine Bulbosa


There are about five miles of woodland trails on our 165+ acre campus and I thought I’d better get started.  Saturday was a beautiful day so I tried a one mile section.  I flushed three white tail deer and encountered squishy reminders that there is an adjacent flood plain.

Sharp’s Run borders the south edge of the campus on its way to the southwest branch of Rancocas Creek.  During last week’s rain the Run had risen enough to flood the entrance from Route 70, closing it  for a while.  The bridge above was undoubtedly under water.

For part of the trail I found myself on a steep-sided  embankment well above the flood plain.  Well, says the railroader, this is not a natural formation;  there must have been a railroad through here.  Sure enough, the 5.95 mile Mount Holly, Lumberton, and Medford Railroad served these communities and interchanged at Medford with the Camden and Atlantic (City) Railroad, ca 1870. 

Anyway, the leaves above are one of the few spots of color remaining in the woods as we enter the unsaturated gray-brown, bare branch season. But, returning on a campus paved road there was an attractive colorful planting of winter pansies in front of drying grass plumes. 

The unusual black-stemmed plant is a night-blooming globus electricus.


And a campus cluster of red berry provided a bright spot.