Sandy was traveling north parallel to the East Coast on the Atlantic Ocean as we were in the midst of spending a week in New York. We watched the news closely — preliminary weather reports had the megastorm taking a right-hand turn into the middle of Atlantic.
Whew, I thought, because I was excited about the hiking/walking trips that we had planned. The urban hike consisted of meeting some friends and strolling on New York’s world-famous High Line. The High Line used to be an elevated freight railroad line that once goods through Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Now it’s about a mile long walking trail/park/garden.
Our country hike was planned for the Hudson Valley, up Anthony’s Nose near the Bear Mountain Bridge, about 20 to 30 miles or so north of NYC. It’s a short hike, but almost all on the steep slope of the hills lining the Hudson River.
Both hikes were awesome, despite cloudy conditions and slight drops of rain.
My wife, Kris, grew up in New City, NY, one of the suburbs that mushroomed in the wake of World War II. We try to get back at least once a year to visit relatives. Hiking, both of the rugged backcountry variety along the Hudson and the urban variety in the city, is a must.
It’s ironic, that such an outdoor activity plays such a role in our trips to one of the world’s largest urban areas, but there it is.
We rarely see anyone when we do our Hudson River hikes. But last week we saw a bunch of people along Anthony’s Nose, which includes part of the Appalachian Trail. We saw two through-hikers, heading to Georgia, fit, and trim young men who walked down the slope with fast, confident steps. Their plan to start in the north, late in the season, and head south on the great trail, goes counter the prevailing through-hiking plans, which is starting in the south in the spring, and heading north.
Now, as I look at the weather maps, I wonder where they are and hope and pray they are OK. Judging from the pure competence those two guys exuded, I’m confident they are.
The High Line was amazing. I have visited NYC enough times now for the gee-whiz, golly-look-at-that effect of the city to have worn off. This trip into the city I was mostly annoyed at the sounds (jackhammers, horns blaring); smells (diesel smoke and urine) and the pure hustle and bustle. But the High Line took us about 30 feet above it all, and featured a lot of plants and trees. People stroll up there, and talk in a multitude of languages. There’s art and architecture and glimpses of the harbor.