Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kinnelon Winter Festival 2009

Did you know that on Friday, January 2, 2009, the Kinnelon Library is holding a Winter Festival in celebration of the New Year?

It's not listed on the Library's website, but it did appear in the December 25, 2008 Argus and, if you call 973-838-1321 [the Library phone number], you will get the message.

Here is the scoop:

"Come celebrate with us at the Kinnelon Public Library Winter Festival.  The festival will be on Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, noon to 4 pm.  There will be crafts, entertainment, food and prizes.  Cost of admission is a donation to the Kinnelon Health Department Food Pantry."

I think it sounds like great fun, and a wonderful way to celebrate the New Year with members of our community.

Would you let others know?

If you go, do take pictures and then upload them to Flickr where I have created a Smoke Rise, NJ photo Group

And, if you'd like to write about the festival, I welcome your contribution.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year 2009!  Thank you for reading and subscribing.  And, see you at the Kinnelon Winter Festival!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Didja Know? Christmas '47

I picked this article from Cornie Hubner's Didja Know? series as it relates to Christmas. It seems particularly appropriate given the 9.5 inches that fell between Friday and Sunday past - and that I'm typing this before the rains wash the snow all away.  

Here follows Cornie's article titled "Christmas '47." 

The 1947 Christmas Season will always be remembered by the few Smoke Rise residents and their friends who were fortunate to enjoy it.  The 37-inch, greatest of the century, snowfall provided a shining, silvery mantel that transformed the Gate House, Inn and other Estate buildings into live Victorian postcards. After struggling through unplowed public highways, we traveled a clean swept entrance road under a crystal roof of branches that made a fairyland ballroom entrance to unbelievable displays of nature Christmas Cards. Trees turned into glittering jewels and the shining ice coated snow remained spotless extending the Holiday Spirit for weeks.

After many years of confusion, December 25th was finally designated as the date of the birth of Christ by Pope Julius I in the 4th century.  The Star of Bethlehem had been identified as Nova or a flaring star, by Chinese but the uncertainty about the date was put to rest by that decision. The pagan Odin Oak was chopped down by St. Boniface, who substituted the fir tree in the 8th century and in 1223 St. Francis assembled the first creche in a move to bring the true meaning of Christmas to all people. A fellow monk wrote the first hymns that brought joy and spirit to the celebration.

The only sponsored service in Kinnelon during the early 1900s, was the Sunday School celebration at L'Ecole.  The Butler churches offered formal Christmas services for those who arrived by horse and carriage. The first Club members had their very own observance at the Inn or attended service in Butler, Bloomingdale and Pompton Lakes. Seasonal Egg Nog and cocktail parties required no formal invitation as everyone except the lame and infirm could be counted on to attend.  The four-party telephone line made it easy to broadcast the invitation to every resident. A fleet of jeeps (2 or 3) provided transportation when no other car dared to challenge the snow and sleet, freezing weather and ice covered roads.

Even the most timid climbed to a precarious seat in the vehicle, to reach a destination, high on a hill and made a sliding approach to the nearest door. Power failures sometimes added to the adventure but never dampened the festivities.  A bristling wood fire provided light and heat and offered an excuse for the more or less welcome enthusiastic rendition of Christmas Carols by the ever present male quartet.  Their repertoire of hymns was quickly exhausted and "Down by the Old Mill Stream" and "My Wild Irish Rose" was soon foisted on an appreciative (?) audience.

In '49, the singers became a wandering band of troubadours.   A group of four, including a fiddler, began an ambitious tour, in a freezing drizzle.  At the first stop, a cheery concert alerted the fortunate member to their presence and brought a hearty welcome to enter and partake. Fortified inside and out, a second performance was equally well rewarded.  The fiddler's frozen fingers and singers' strained vocal chords ended the successful trip after three more stops. Agreeing that some rehearsals might have been needed before the next tour, the Minstrels made their weary ways home.

The group performed, with or without being asked, at all Club parties. Encouraged by this acceptance, an attempt was made to organize a chapter of SPEBQSA with the assistance of the Montclair group who sponsored them. Lacking a tenor, even from the outside, the effort failed though the bass supplied a falsetto voice until his tonsils gave out. Nothing daunted, their public performances continued at all functions.

Very successful club parties, teas, cocktail parties and dances enlivened the membership from the first. The New Year's Dance, formal for several years, was always the highlight of the season. In '56, the Christmas Tree Decoration Party presented an ornament to each guest on arrival and the resplendent Christmas tree remained the centerpiece for the Holiday functions. By '59, the "College Kids" were welcomed by a dance that preceded the $10.00 per person, formal New Year's Ball. The price went to $14.00 in '67 when the invitations stated "Dress Optional, meaning your wife will decide." Also in '67, an invitation was extended to all members to join Carolling groups that began their practice that still continues.

During these years, there was an outdoor Christmas Decoration Contest.  The artistry and ingenuity of our talented members added to the Christmas Spirit, by the beauty and simplicity of the many displays. The contest (with minor awards) was abandoned, when professional assistance produced elaborate displays defeating the original purpose.

All parties continued in the White Room until '79.  Facilities at the Community Church were kindly offered for all events except the New Year's Dance which required the extensive accommodation at Rockaway River [?] for the greatly increased membership.  The celebration returned to the re-opened Inn in '81 with a Court Yard Christmas Tree Lighting and a New Year's party now at $75.00 per.  Successful celebrations continue with increasing interest so that reservations are now limited by the capacity of the Inn.

Christmas Eve is celebrated in some homes with a Special Birthday Party. In night clothes or robes, the family forms a procession with lighted candles and singing hymns, to the tree where the youngest places the infant in the crib. When the lights go on, a birthday cake is cut and refreshments served while the gifts are exchanged. Many club social events offer a chance to meet and share in Holiday Spirit.  Our many churches celebrate the birth of Christ with formal services to which all are invited.



What are your Holiday traditions? I would love to capture them here. My friend, fellow blogger and Boonton neighbor Steve Woodruff shares his in A Candle in the Window...

I echo Cornie's sentiments and hope you enjoy this Christmas visit to another time in Kinnelon and Smoke Rise.  Happiest of Holidays to you all!  

Monday, December 22, 2008

Suburban Trends: Bloggers Share Local Highlights

As published in the 12/10/08 issue of Suburban Trends, the Living Section, page D10.

Get Connected
Bloggers share local highlights
by Julia Dunn - Correspondent

NORTH JERSEY - Among the small-town life and woods that surround Northern New Jersey live a couple of residents who have exposed their New Jersey towns to the blogosphere.

While Kinnelon may appear charming and small, there is a vast and mostly unexplored history that Charlotte [a.k.a. Christine] Whittemore is working to piece together and post on her blog.

J. Douglas Fisher, a Butler resident, posts about things that interest him like the "PizzaFest" that was thrown by the Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department.

Fisher volunteers at the Butler Museum. Fisher chooses topics to write about in his blog by looking at stories that are not getting a lot of public attention or that he feels he needs to highlight.

"I've lived in North Jersey a long time and there are a lot of really cool things to do, but no one knows about it," Fisher said.

Whittemore maintains three blogs currently, two of which involve her job.  "The Smoke Rise Blog," Whittemore's only blog that is not work-related, is run mainly by Whittemore with two other contributors.

Whittemore has been blogging since June of 2006 professionally and noted many aspects of her life that she wanted to capture in a similar way to her work blogs.

"What got me to actually take action was a combination of events that took place around July Fourth weekend, a hike around Lake Kinnelon along a trail I had heard about but wasn't sure where it was and during the hike we heard more about Lake Kinnelon and the day-t0-day activities in maintaining a lake, it seemed like these were things everyone should know about and has a responsibility knowing; just caring for the environment."

In her research and story writing for the blog, she has developed a focus of finding out the history of the area as well as the town of Kinnelon.

"A lot of this is trying to help me understand where the area fits in terms of history and help my daughter understand and appreciate all that and enjoy all this area has to offer," Whittemore said.

"The Smoke Rise Blog" aims to capture the stories of Kinnelon and its history.  Whittemore plans to keep up the blog in the future and get more contributors who are interested in Kinnelon and the purpose of the blog.  "The blogs are great fun because they lead to conversations," Whittemore said.

For these bloggers, there is a personal and a local aspect to what information they are publishing in the blogosphere.  Many have just started blogging and will catch up to more experienced bloggers further down the road.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Old Country Road Trail and Beaver Dam Hike

On November 2nd, 2008, we made it to the Old Country Road Trail which just so happens to take you to the Beaver Dam!

It's probably more accurate to say 'a' beaver dam. However, having gone off in search of a beaver dam in Pyramid Mountain Park - and not found it - and heard about - but not seen - the one in Lake Kinnelon, I was grateful for the possibility of one close by and easily accessible. In my mind, that justifies it being 'the' beaver dam.

Here is what the Smoke Rise & Locale Trail Directions say about the Old Country Road Trail [marked pink]:

The trail begins at the fire pond on Tower Hill Lane and leads to Split Rock Road within a half mile. Bear left to follow the road along Split Rock Reservoir or bear right along the road to the Charlottesburg Reservoir.  NY/NJ Trail Conference trails to Copperas Ridge and Hibernia be found.

[Note:  we've purchased the 1998 NY/NJ Trail Conference book as well as the 2004 version and are still trying to piece together what is where and how to access it.]

The trail head - as you can see from the photo above - is at the very end of Tower Hill Lane, close to 71 Tower Hill Lane. The fire pond mentioned above we believe is the pond next to 60 Tower Hill Lane.  When we arrived, we [the Contreras and Whittemores] were the only cars parked in the cul-de-sac.  However, we realized that we had located a popular teenager destination point as many had gathered by the beaver pond as we headed back, corresponding to 8 or so SUVs parked when we left...

Once passed the trail head, we found ourselves in a delightful wooded area complete with bubbling stream to cross and scenic rock outcroppings to admire.  We very quickly reached the Old Country Road which - as you can see from the photo to the right - is a serious thoroughfare heading both north and south.

We opted to go north, after admiring the beaver dam and fire pit area by the edge of the lake. After all, this was the road that connected to Split Rock Reservoir and with which we were familiar.  We preferred to head into uncharted territory.

We realized, too, that we should be able to reach the other side of the lake or pond, but hadn't yet figured out how.

Now, a note of caution.   Old Country Road [and several other related trails] seems quite popular with ATVs and motor bikes.  Luckily, they are noisy enough that you have some advanced noticed before seeing them.  Furthermore, the ATVers we encountered were courteous and respectful that we were on foot and with children. We also encountered an intrepid mountain biker and other hikers.

We did indeed discover the beaver dam, as you can see in the photo above.  I'll cover in a separate post some of the details related to beavers [i.e., only seems fitting to address those in a 'Kinnelon Critter File'].

Also, we managed to discover the way to the other side of the beaver pond/lake.  I'll cover that in a separate post, too...

In the meantime, I do hope you have a chance to explore this most accessible and delightful trail.  We look forward to exploring it covered in snow [and possibly not as amenable to ATVs] and discussed the possibilities this past weekend with the Ciriglianos and Contreras.

Maybe Christmas day?

The photo on the right captures Emma and Miles, Lisa Contreras and Ted Whittemore.  The backdrop is the Charlotteburg Reservoir.

For related posts, visit Smoke Rise Hikes.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Carol At The Kinnelon Library

Last Saturday, December 13, 2008, my daughter and I attended a theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol by the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company at the Kinnelon Library.

Are you familiar with A Christmas Carol, the story by Charles Dickens, written in 1843? [Here is a site with the original story.] It's about the bitter, mean and snarling miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who cares only about his money -- until his dead friend, Jacob Marley, and several other ghosts visit him one night offering him a chance at redemption...  

My first memory of A Christmas Carol  has to do with the 1951 movie version - gritty, gripping and a little frightening. [You can view original and colorized clips on YouTube.]  And, then, I witnessed Patrick Stewart's one-man performance on Broadway. Talk about spell-binding! [This link describes the experience which is also available on CD...]  One man, no costumes, no stage sets, but a voice with the power to bring to life in full detail the entire cast from the story.

Last week's 45 minute production featured two professional actors Daryl Ray Carliles and Rebekah Bayles from the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company which specializes in educating and entertaining children. Carliles played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge and Bayles, the remaining 6 critical roles.  The audience supplied a few other parts, like that of Tiny Tim and Mrs. Cratchit, making the performance interactive and fun.

At the end of the show, the actors answered questions - about the show, the stage set [it rolls up and breaks down into PVC pipe pieces that all fit into a few travel bags], costumes, how to play multiple roles, etc.  

Here's how my daughter described the story in her weekend journal:  

"There were two actors. The boy played Ebenezer Scrooge and the girl played six roles. She played Jacob Marley, the ghost of Christmas passed, the narrator...  Scrooge hated Christmas. At the end, Scrooge loved Christmas.  Scrooge gave money to poor people.  He did a happy dance at the end.  He got a large goose for dinner for Bob Cratchit."

The event was funded by the Kinnelon CLL [Center for Lifelong Learning].  A Christmas Carol was terrific, and we were both thoroughly entertained!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa Helicopters in to Kinnelon

Did you see him? You know, Santa Claus?  We did last Saturday December 6th as he magically appeared from the sky in a helicopter to land behind Kinnelon's Borough Hall.

What a thrill! What a rush! What a joy for all of the Kinnelon boys and girls eagerly awaiting his arrival.

We didn't have long to wait.  At 10:00am sharp we heard a faint rhythmic sound that became increasingly more distinct.  It resolved into the eagerly awaited helicopter which made two wide loops over the field as it came in for a landing. By the middle of the first loop, we caught sight of Santa's red suit and his white gloved hand as it waved to us.

The helicopter landed.  It was a nimble two-seater out of which Santa extricated himself.  He thanked the pilot, who took off again quickly, and headed toward the crowd of children and their parents.

You should have heard the shrieks of delight! The children quickly surrounded the jolly old elf who graciously posed for photos and exchanged quips and reminders. "Will," he said to a grown man, "do you still have that football I gave you?"   "I do, Santa," replied the man.  And, then to a grown woman "Kathy, are you being a good girl?"  "Yes, I am Santa!" she said.

My daughter overheard those exchanges.  Her eyes grew bigger. Afterward, she repeated what she had witnessed several times. To us; to her grandparents; to other grownups. She had proof positive that this was truly Santa.

I love this Kinnelon tradition.  And, although Santa has been spotted in several other locations arriving by helicopter per this "Santa helicopter" Google search, Kinnelon NJ seems to be one of his earliest stops in the season.

Which makes his visit here that much more special happening like clockwork on the first Saturday in December.  I wondered, though, how long has Santa taken this mode of transportation when visiting Kinnelon?  

I asked two of the firefighters standing by.  You see, Santa has a special relationship with firefighters. He takes a firetruck from the field to Borough Hall itself where he and Mrs. Claus pose for pictures [I understand he's quick to greet many of the children by name and often remembers what he brought them the previous year].  Santa also comes back the following Sunday to ride a firetruck around the borough of Kinnelon to wave, hand out candy canes and dog treats [for children's best friend]  

The two firefighters differed in their answers:  one said 5 years; the other, ten.  Too inconclusive a response.  I was determined to get to the bottom of this marvelous mystery.

On Monday, I called Borough Hall.  Borough Hall couldn't answer my questions and directed me to Mayor Glenn Sisco's house, as he and his wife are personally involved in scheduling this special visit from Santa.  

I called the Siscos and, luckily, reached Mrs. Barbara Sisco. I asked her about Santa. "At least ten years," she said "but, I'll need to check."

In the meantime, she offered me perspective on Santa in Kinnelon.

Santa has been coming to Kinnelon for over 20 years, at first via firetruck and now helicopter - always the first weekend in December.  In the firetruck days, Santa would arrive in time for a tree lighting ceremony on Friday night during which the Kinnelon High School students sang. Although wonderful, Mrs. Sisco noticed two shortcomings to the festivities: the timing was difficult for small children [i.e., Santa's core audience], and it was really hard to actually see Santa.

Enter the new mode of transportation.  The Siscos identified an enthusiastically willing helicopter pilot - with connections to Santa - and the event shifted to Saturday morning to the delight of children young and old!

For the first two years, Santa landed on the Kinnelon High School field.  Then, while Borough Hall was renovated, he landed at the Pearl R. Miller School field, boarding the firetruck and posing for photos with Mrs. Claus at the Sisco School.  All other years, he has arrived behind Borough Hall as he did last week with the photo session in Borough Hall.

Regardless of the location, when Santa comes to Kinnelon, he demonstrates his special kinship to our community.  He remembers kids' names, their stories and whether they have been good or bad. 

Mrs. Sisco is hoping to reestablish the tree lighting part of the ceremony in the near future.

And now the answer to my original question...

A few days later, Mrs. Sisco called me back.  After consulting with her grandson who checked with his dad, she confirmed that 2008 is Santa's twelfth year arriving by helicopter...

Thank you, Mrs. Sisco for helping me capture the details of the marvelous Kinnelon tradition of Santa arriving by helicopter!

Thank you, Mayor Sisco and Mrs. Sisco for encouraging such a marvelous tradition!

Thank you, Kinnelon Firefighters for making sure that Santa gets to where he needs to be during the Christmas season.

And, thank you, Santa, for sharing the magic of Christmas with all the Kinnelon children!

Merry Christmas!

Note:  Here are Santa photos from the Kinnelon Volunteer Fire Company's 2008 Shutterfly page.  It looks like some of the firefighters may be trying to impersonate Santa...  

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kinnelon Student Art Exhibit - December 2008

Have you gone to admire the amazing creativity of our children at the Kinnelon Library?  You have the opportunity to do so this month. During the entire month of December, 2008, the students from Sisco, Kiel and Stonybrook schools in Kinnelon, NJ have artwork on display for all to admire.  And, believe me, there is plenty to admire.

Art Teachers Charlene Scully from the Stonybrook school and Sona Santagato from the Sisco and Kiel schools truly inspire their students.  The range of expression that our children demonstrate is remarkable!

Monet's waterlillies came to mind when I saw the junior k and kindergartners from the Sisco school.   The first graders alternated between Van Gogh's Starry Night and a forest scene.  The second graders did self-portraits or Matisse inspired still lifes.

The third, fourth and fifth graders showcased sculptures, prints of portraits carved in foam core board, Mondrian inspired compositions, woven constructions and watercolor backpacks.  I'm only skimming the surface which means you must go see for yourself.  All 500+ works are on display along the hallways of the second floor, throughout the Children's Library and in the first floor lobby of the Kinnelon Library.

Although the works have been hanging since the beginning of December, an artist's reception took place Friday December 12th and Saturday December 13th evenings.
[Emma with Mrs. Santagato.]
Emma and I attended Friday night's festivities while Kinnelon High School TV reporters came to film the event and interview the artists.  I understand that it will be broadcast on Channel 77 - although I'm not sure when.

According to the art teachers, the last Sisco, Kiel and Stonybrook schools art exhibit took place at the end of the school year in the Kiel Cafetorium, but only for one day given how heavily used that space is.

Understandable, although what a shame not to have more time to enjoy and appreciate so much talent! Imagine,then, having this year's exhibit last the full month -- and in the Library which is so welcoming! 

Please do go.  Get the word out to other parents.  And, admire.  Admire the creativity, the boldness of expression, the shear joy that these works of art exude.  These are the visions of our children and they offer us a fresh view on the world.

What a gift for the Holidays! 

PS:  I have posted photos of the Kinnelon Student Art Exhibit - December 2008 on Flickr in my Smoke Rise Photo Set.

PPS: Don't forget to sign the guest books. Note that there are 2: one for Stonybrook, and one for Sisco & Kiel.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kinnelon Library Holds Chagall Art Workshop

I wish you could have been there. Actually, I wish I could have been there, too! The Kinnelon Public Library held an art workshop this past Thursday December 11, 2008 from 5 to 6pm for children in grades 1 through 4. It looked and sounded dreamy. Kind of like Chagall.

Note the quote from Pablo Picasso in the photo: "When Chagall paints, you do not know if he is asleep or awake. Somewhere or either inside his head, there must be an angel."

At 5pm, Miss LuLu [Louise Solomon] opened the doors to the art room next to the Children's Library and welcomed the children registered for the event. Sounds of Klezmer music wafted through. The entire room had been transformed into a dreamscape that Marc Chagall would have felt completely at home in.

Unfortunately for me, the parents were sent away. This was for kids only.

However, before leaving I caught a few tidbits and snapped some photos through the door windows.

The first part of the session entailed walking around the room to absorb facts and images about Paul Chagall's life - all elements that influenced his art work.

He was born in Russia in 1887, but moved to Paris to be part of the up-and-coming art community. He eventually became a French citizen, but fled France to the United States during the German occupation. He died in France in 1985. [Note: biography greatly simplified.]

As they learned about Chagall's life, the children discovered the symbols associated with those events and times.  Chagall's artwork is filled with them:

+ a cow represents food, milk, leather, meat and power

+ a heart means love

+ a clock represents the passage of time and getting older

+ a fish relates to his father who worked in a fish factory [i.e., a herring merchant]

+ a horse symbolizes freedom

[These come from my daughter's weekend journal entry for the event.]

[Here is a biography and listing of Chagall's works.]

Marc Chagall worked in stained glass later in his life [approx. 1957] creating beautiful windows for churches, synagogues and the United Nations building

That and Chagall's use of bold colors and symbols wound up being the inspiration for the children's art project.  They created their own stained glass working with tissue paper and glue on an oily base paper.

The result was exciting!  

Kudos to the Kinnelon Children's Library for putting on such a hands-on and immersive sound-sight-touch interactive creative experience for the kids.  My daughter left talking enthusiastically about what she had learned and done. She now has a special appreciation for an artist's perspective on life and how that translates into his or her art.  She has also made Marc Chagall's acquaintance. 

Should another similar type event be scheduled, I strongly recommend that you take part.  You won't regret it!

Note:  While researching Chagall, I came across this link to Daydreaming with Marc Chagall - lesson plan for kids.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The New Pond Trail

In mid October, soon after our magnificent Split Rock Reservoir hike, we decided to explore the New Pond trail.  

Per the Smoke Rise & Locale Trail Directions, we had two options:

+ From the north:  Mountain Road Trail/New Pond Trail [blue] with access from Beechwood Lane

+ From the south:  New Pond Trail [blue] begins on West Shore Drive between lots #814 and #818.  Continue north around New Pond to connect with the Split Rock trail [white] and continue to the Beechwood Lane access or south along New Pond to join various old woods roads and the NY/NJ Trail Conference trails.

As we were familiar with the first, we opted to begin there, hoping to end up on West Shore Drive, where we parked one car.

Then, as we did for the Split Rock Reservoir Trail Hike, we parked at the end of Beechwood Lane [west of Red Oak Lane], walking to the trail head - located between lots #20 and #21 - to Mountain Road trail which runs from North to South. 

[The Mountain Road trail is marked with blue blazes.]

This was only our second time on Mountain Road; we were again impressed with how clearly it is the remains of a major 19th century road and surprisingly big. Although steep at the beginning, the 2nd mile was quite level with obvious signs of earthworks. Francis S. Kinney was definitely busy here!

As we approached New Pond, we noticed a boggy area on our left. A small stream trickled into it.  It became slightly more important as we continued trekking south.
We caught sight of an impressive 12 to 15 foot tall structure ahead. The stream crossed our path and met up with the structure. We stepped over rocks and then headed uphill to the structure's level.

It was a dam. New Pond dam. Can you guess who built it? According to Tom Kline, Francis S. Kinney did.  

The photo shows Ted determining that the section by the spillover is heavily silted up. Notice how wide the structure is.

After admiring New Pond - and it is a beautiful pond - we continued on the trail only to find our way blocked.  Talk about a rude encounter!  A massive barrier of dirt, branches, rocks and other debris had been piled onto the trail. We peaked around and discovered that a house had been built - part of the Centex Grandview development on South Glen Road.

We backtracked just a bit [noticing a congenial fire pit] and found what looked to be a trail heading east [the direction we needed to head towards to find our way to West Shore Drive].

We followed that trail and soon came across the massive erratic pictured here, with another fire pit and plenty of firewood stacked up...

We continued around the rock, looking for a trail, found something that seemed legitimate, discovered it wasn't much of anything, decided to maintain our eastern heading and found signs of civilization: an electric fenced yard.  We avoided it, but followed its periphery.  That led us toward a bog and finally into someone's front yard and onto West Shore Drive.

I can't remember which yard it was.   And, although I feel terrible that we trespassed onto someone's property, you have no idea how relieved we were to make it to West Shore Drive.

For the record, we 'landed' farther north than we expected.  As we headed south toward our car, we did pass the sign [see photo above] indicating the trail head for New Pond. We were too tired to explore.

We felt, though, that we had a mystery on our hands.

The mystery ate at us so much that, the next day, Ted & I decided we needed to enter from the New Pond Trail marker and find what happened.

Things seemed normal enough except that we noticed red silt runoff atypical for this area.  We quickly saw why:  Centex Grandview construction with mounds of unprotected and leaching fill and quite a lot of erosion into the drainage below which leads to our lake.  We kept on to where we thought the trail was [or had been] and made it close to where we had met the trail blockage....

In so doing, we realized that it wouldn't take much to reconnect the trails. According to Ken Bitz, Smoke Rise owns an easement that allows us to do so. The Lake & Environmental Committee will be considering the matter and - should we get the okay - we will need as many able bodies as possible to mark off the new trail.  I hope you might be interested in participating in this marvelous community project.

We'll let you know when we learn more. 

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