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I crawled out of bed last weekend before sunrise and drove up darkened roads to Trostle Pond, clutching my mug of coffee and uttering silent thanks that during this season at least, getting up for sunrise doesn’t involve an ungodly hour such as 4am. I had thought to bring gloves and a jacket, but even so I was unprepared; it was around 40* when I left home, but up in the hills around the park, it was 28*.

There can no longer be any doubt that summer is over.

On this particular morning, I started on the shores of Lackawanna Lake, but became bored with a landscape that is so limited by being ashore; I’ve been spoiled by the access my kayak gives me. So I drove on up the road a bit farther to Trostle Pond, the former Countryside Conservancy property that has since been absorbed into Lackawanna State Park, although it sits by itself as a satellite a few hundred meters down the road from the park proper.

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As I walked down the trail across the field I realized just how long it’s been since I’ve walked anywhere on one of my morning outings. The past two years, I think 98% of my spring-through-fall outings have centered around the kayak, and I’ve paddled anywhere I’ve wanted to go. And as much as I love being on the water, I remember now just how pleasant it is to amble around a field with the camera.

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Like so many of the sites I visit, Trostle is one that I come to time and time again, although generally with long spaces between my visits. On the surface there isn’t a lot of access, just the one trail down through the field to the pond, then partway around the pond and up around the back field. There’s a spur trail that cuts through the woods, down a gully and across a small creek, before climbing the hill and emerging at the RC flying field, over near Bullhead Bay.

But even just those couple of trails provide access to a lot of beauty. The trail across the field from the parking lot is my favorite; twenty steps from my car I have a lovely view down the field to the pond, across to the woods and back field beyond. At sunrise I get raking side-light across it and at sunset it glows softly, and the pond reflects the sky.

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The pond is reserved for youth fishing only, and I don’t think it even gets much of that. I’ve only ever seen someone fish there once in seven years. So too is the shoreline clean, free of the invariable piles of fishermen trash that litter our other shores. And it’s peaceful; I usually have it all to myself.

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So despite being cold for most of it, it was a soft, peaceful morning, and it did me good to go out and trek around a little. Autumn is such a fleeting season; almost as soon as the foliage is really at peak, it’s gone and the trees and bare. We’re right at that transition point now, so I’m trying to make the most of it.

More to come…

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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