Natirar (1/19/2015)

After a brutal weekend of cold and ice (on Sunday, January 18, a sheet of black ice covered the roads of many areas of northern NJ causing hundreds of traffic accidents), we decided to head out for something short and close today, the national holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. We headed to this beautiful park named Natirar, which is "Raritan" spelled backwards (the Raritan River runs through the area). There are two loops here, a lower loop and an upper loop. Doing both of them, with the small connector path twice, will give you a nice 3 miles out in nature. The bottom loop, the one closest to the parking area, is the most crowded and has fantastic views of the river and of the mansion on the hill (now a spa and luxury restaurant). The upper loop is quieter and has some seasonal views over the farmlands of New Jersey. The entire area still had quite a bit of ice on Monday and all the paths were slippery in varying degrees. But we did manage to see some nice birds (got a nice photo of a kingfisher and another of a cardinal) and we even saw a gorgeous red fox, but he was too fast for me and I wasn't able to get a photo. We plan on returning when the birds return and the wildflowers bloom. It really is a beautiful area.

Total distance walked today was 3 miles in approximately 90 minutes.

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