Deep Dive: Topography

In addition to the forest, the property has very interesting topography, and it was this combination that sold me instantly. As a bonus, the western border faces a sprawling wetland, which means it will never be touched. This is the direction the house faces, offering a vista of woodlands that stretches out as far as the eye can see. The best time of year to enjoy The View is early May, just before the trees have filled out.

As far as a visualization of the terrain, satellite views aren't very informative, but interesting nevertheless. Based on the construction progress, weather conditions, shadows and other details, it appears Google's view, below left, was taken around 10 AM, 16 April 2016. Compare it to Bing's shot, below right, which looks as though it was taken about a year later, sometime in April 2017. Click both for annotated enlargements.

Ground-level photographs are a bit better, but they still don't fully impart the sense of depth. One almost feels as though the land embraces the house in an enormous cupped hand—which is exactly how I'd always dreamt it might be.

The topographic survey (completed in January 2015) offers the most detailed portrait of the various landforms; the house and guest cabin are shown in context, along with the unimaginative names I've given the ravines.

I've been told the highest point in Burlington County is on my property, at the far left just above center, which is where I've started building a little treehouse. After doing some research, I've found that the highest point is actually Arneys Mount in Arneys Mount, NJ; at 240 feet, it's nearly 40 feet higher, although mine is almost certainly the highest in North Hanover Township. On the topo map below, my house is indicated by the red crosshairs; the high point is the small X just above and to the left.

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