Patricia got home at 6:30, would we really have time to get to Long Valley, Schooley's Mountain, and locate the trail to the Electric Brook falls? I've heard it's a mile one-way, although seemingly the walk must be less distance, given what I know about that region. U.S. Highway 206 we soon found flowing well, which it wouldn't have been an hour earlier. But clouds had just moved in, so I switched from WQXR Classical Music to Jersey Radio for weather. Very severe thunderstorms forecasted.
"We can go to Cooper Mill," I said. "Just go to Electric Brook another time."
"Are there trails to hike?"
"Plenty. And in any event, it's worth being by the river for a little while." I really didn't think any auspice existed to set out on a real hike.
One of those trails leads well down the river to Black River Park and the Kay Center, an environmental education outfit. Hacklebarnery State Park is downriver, also. But Cooper Grist Mill Morris County Park felt perfectly enough for a little outing after I wrote all day and took care of some errands, and Trish worked.
In the 1760's, a flour mill existed here owned by Isaiah Younglove until 1788. I think it's cool that names of mill owners stay with us centuries later. What I don't like is the quaint sense of history as if the people who really lived such lives did so as a sort of politically correct song and dance. "Storied." Life used to be a lot like it is today. The present mill--view the photos below--Nathan Cooper built in 1826.
On occasion, park staff run the water wheel, power shafts and gears turning a couple of one-ton mill stones. Here where Milltown once existed, after you see this amazing operation, you can walk across the street and enjoy a meal at Old Mill Tavern. Or a beer. Dozens of craft labels on draft. Highly recommended--it's Trish's favorite restaurant. Since we had Sadie along and would have to keep windows partly down through rain, we passed on it this evening.
We had some time to unwind before hearing thunder. Always memories here. Trish and I lived in Chester five years, and I used to come here and trout fish, doing especially well in the fall. Back then, the state stocked very little trout in the fall, but I always seemed to catch big eight-inchers.
As we pulled onto 206 South, rain fell.