Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oh, all right — New Jersey reconsidered

As I was going on about New Jersey being, you know, FLAT, a small still voice kept noodging me: What about north Jersey?

I know, I know … actually, the day I went to Princeton, I drove up through the Wallkill Valley as the long way home. In glacial time, the Hudson flowed through the Wallkill Valley and went out to sea through the Passaic River channel, and I wanted to see how familiar the Wallkill Valley would be. The answer is, not much: no Palisades, for one thing (there are inland Palisades northwest of Nyack, incidentally, and if you go to Haverstraw to see how a developer can ruin a waterfront, you’ll find the development huddled into the dark, late-afternoon shadow of an east-west Palisades ridge).

(I’m sure the Haverstraw development is nice for the people who live in it … but there’s no public access, a guard at the gate, walls so you can’t see what’s inside. Actually, there’s another Hudson River site with exactly the same characteristics! It’s called Sing Sing, and it has an even better view than the Haverstraw site.)

A few images like these were waiting in my camera. The setting sun gilded dead trees standing in a marsh in the Ramapo Mountains. Do you catch a slight magenta cast to the image? It’s the way it really was. Between the evening sun, the living trees in the background with sap running close to the surface, and the dark sky reflected in the water, the overall light was in the magenta-to-blue range.

So my apologies to Bergen County: you’re not Big Sky Country. Yes indeed — Bergen County woodland is just as beautiful as if it were in New York State.


SEH said...

If you think NJ is flat, you must have missed the Water Gap - and I can't imagine how you did that, because there are signs for the Delaware Water Gap all over the state. (I call it the Water Gap phenomenon ... in Florida, I call it the Arcadia phenom because it seems everywhere you go on the west side of the state, there are signs to "Arcadia" - a small town that not many people go to, but there are hundreds of ways to get there shuold you have the desire.)

The Water Gap is a very impressive channel cut through rock along the Delaware River at the PA/NJ border. Just check out the pics here:

Diggitt said...

Ah -- you posted this before you read further. I have been driving to Ohio for 30+ years, on I-80, and that takes me right through the Delaware Water Gap. But ... that's not New Jersey! It's Pennsylvania! Actually ... it's sui generis. But the last ten miles of I-80 as you approach the Water Gap are worth waiting for. But oh, boy, it is a slog.