Taking A Hike


October can be a glorious time for Fall in New Jersey.

The air is still warm, and, if there was enough rain in latter part of summer, then the trees will be a-blaze with color.

Like Bob Ross went to work with one of his brushes to bring gobs of color to the forest.

This year, while the weather was spectacular in September and most of October, it was dry. So the leaves took a while to turn. And when they did, the explosion of color just wasn’t there. It was much more subdued, for the most part.

Wooded Path_111019_IMG_1023

But no matter if there was a color explosion or not, it’s still nice to get outside and go for a hike. So this past weekend, my boys and I did just that.

I have distinct memories of some Fall Sunday afternoons growing up, me and my dad hiking either in the woods that were just a short way from our house or taking a drive to Francis Slocum State Park in nearby Dallas, PA.

This was the late ’70s, early ’80s. Often, on the car radio during the drive would be the Philadelphia Eagles game, and radio announcer Merrill Reese doing the play-by-play.

Merrill has a distinctive voice the timber is solid and deep. He doesn’t rush his call. When he gets excited for a good play, his raises up and to almost a squeak, like his voice is trying to reach something on the top shelf. He is THE voice of the Eagles. And he’s a memory from my childhood.

I had the chance to meet him one time in the late ’80s, when I was in college. I was surprised at how diminutive he was. But it was like meeting the voice of God.

Anyway, this past Sunday, me and my three boys – two with two legs, one with four –  took a 20-minute drive down Route 524 today, heading to a trail I’ve wanted to check out in Upper Freehold.


There was a bit of chill in the air, but nothing a thick sweatshirt couldn’t combat. It wasn’t a deep-in-the-woods hike, but rather some nicely kept, wide trails in some open space bordering a golf course.

The  pockets of fall milkweed dotted the landscape.Some of the pods were still closed, some cupped and busted open, waiting for the wind to blow their seeds across the dry earth.


milkweed pod_1109119_IMG_1041

The juxtaposition was in the power lines that reached up like the arms of God into a beautiful sky of soot and clay.

Hike_111019_IMG_1048 as Smart Object-1

We saw some tracks in the sandy soil, checked out the crazy looking orange mushroom.



But on the drive back and forth, no Eagles game (they were in a bye-week), so no Merrill Reese to listen to. Yes, forty years later, he’s still in booth. Instead, we listened to Bob Poppa and Carl Banks calling the Giants/Jets game.

Upper Freehold Hike_111019

Who knows if they’ll remember this outing in 40 years. Maybe they will.

I just know I got us outside for a bit, and made some memories, at least for me.

Because we are the memory keepers, folks. If nothing else.

[Tech note: Shot all these with either my Samsung Galaxy, finished in the Snapseed app, or my Canon SX620HS point-and-shoot.]

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2019

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