To be honest with you it is quite the miracle that I am home safe and sound writing this. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Because of the constant energy New York has it can get quite tiring and sometimes you need to escape, so Will and I did just that. Before leaving New Zealand I would quite regularly go for hikes in the Waitakere Ranges which was amazing. When we caught the Metro-North train upstate I was expecting hikes of the same beginner-intermediate intensity. Well let me tell you, this shit almost killed me. It was a day filled with wrong turns, mishaps, stunning views and by the end of it extremely sore legs.
I had wanted to get out in to nature for a while so did some googling and found this link. We decided on Bear Mountain State Park as we had seen photos that looked incredible. The Metro-North train only stops at hiking stops such as Bear Mountain on the weekend and only one door of the train opens for you to exit. We missed our stop. Manitou was the stop we were meant to get off at and then walk across Bear Mountain Bridge but the conductor was a real shithead and didn’t explain that you had to be on the small area between train carts that specifically says “NO STANDING”. Go figure as to why we thought that’s not where we should be waiting. Any who there was an absolutely lovely lady passenger on the train who told us that a couple stops away was another hiking trail and she explained exactly where we needed to go. It wasn’t our trail of choice but what the hell.
Everyone in New York must have been needing to get out into the wilderness because so many people got off at the next hiking stop. We followed the ladies directions which lead us to a desk with two rangers at the beginning of trail helping people. His first words- “This is an extremely challenging trail which involves rock climbing where you need to have your arms and legs free”. Nope. Not happening. My response? “Is there an easier option”? There was! Hallelujah! He showed us on a map where we needed to go, how long it would take and where the best views were. When we asked if we could take a copy of the map he said “Sure, for $2″. Obviously we weren’t THAT far out of New York City.
Even though we still managed to get extremely lost, it would have been a lot worse had we not purchased that map. The first part of the hike I found incredibly difficult, it was mostly up hill and we climbed 1000 ft. We were also idiots and only took a 500ml bottle of water each which we almost finished just on the train ride. It was tough. As Will kept pointing out, you can last two days without water and we are complaining and dreaming about our next beverage after 20 minutes. Fair call. Our lunch spot was incredible. Sprawling views of the Hudson River and other state parks. I packed tuna for our lunch but stupidly left the can opener at home! So Will being the Survivor fanatic he is put his hours of watching to use and bashed the can open on a rock. My hero.
After lunch was when things started to go wrong. The ranger had told us to start on the Yellow Trail till we get to the White Trail. Follow the White Trail for 10 minutes until you get to the Blue Trail. From there continue on to the Red Trail. It took us hours to find the White Trail. Each point where a new colour would appear was very confusing and the map did not give us a good indication of where to go. We eventually got to the White Trail and then to the Blue but we took a wrong turn. After what must have been 3 hours of hiking we thought we were coming to and end but instead ended up at a kids summer camp. We exited the park on to a huge green field with a climbing wall and soccer goals. Surely this couldn’t be the finishing point. It wasn’t. But it had water fountains! So after our run in with severe dehydration (not really), we ran to the fountains and guzzled that cold water like never before.
We managed to find some people who gave us directions how to get back to the train station. This involved walking through the entire camp which was incredible! It was just like the summer camps you see in the movies. It turned out to be one of my favourite things I have seen while I have been here. At the end of the camp we ended up back on the trail…for another 2+ hours!! That’s not even the best bit though. Once we finished the trail we still had a 30 minute walk to get to the train. I slept real good on the way back to the city, reeeeal good. It was a great day though, filled with adventure which included me sliding down a hill on my ass. That happened when we took ANOTHER wrong turn and had to trudge through thorn bushes. Ahh nature. You can’t beat it.
What other hikes should I get lost on in NY State? Please let me know!
Until next time friends..