Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Everytrail Review

I tried out the Everytrail hiking app for this portion of the hike.   It worked way better than the app I was using before.  It did have a little glitch about 12 miles in, but the wonderful thing about this app is that it links up with the Everytrail website afterwards, and I can go back and edit out the random 5 mile long triangle through the Hudson River that my phone was so convinced that I took.  It also lets you post geotagged pictures, waypoints, and tell the story of the hike if you're into that sort of thing.  When you post your hike, there are private and public settings so other people can use the trail you mapped.  A search option lets you check out other maps in the area created by users.  So yeah, pretty good app especially considering it's free-ness.

Section 2: 19.3 Miles down

So I said to Mike on Friday, "I think I want to challenge myself this weekend.  Let's do 19 miles".  Mike says "You're an idiot and this is a bad idea."

2 days later, we have parked one car at the NY/NJ state line, and the other car 19 miles down the road, because Mike's a good husband and lets me make my own mistakes - plus I think he really enjoys saying I told you so.  The beginning section of the hike was great.  Not too hilly, passing in and out of some small parks.  One of the big things I noticed were all the downed trees caused by the hurricanes over the past two years.  They have really kept the trail volunteers busy.

So after hiking through Tallman Mountain State Park and seeing some really nice views of the marsh, you hit one of the road hike sections of the trail.  There are quite a few, normally not that long, that link parks together.  They aren't so bad - they give you a section to not worry about tripping over all the godforsaken rocks on the ground, plus it gives you a chance to see all the beautiful lawn decorations people have adorned their yards with, such as this one.

Yes, it is every bit as ridiculously large as it looks. 

Once we finally cut back into the woods, we approached Rockland Cemetery.  This part of the trail is kind of confusing and we ended up going in a big circle and found ourselves back at the damn elephant and had to do the whole part again.  I also discovered the I dropped one of the maps at this point.  Double frick.  Finally back on track, the walk through the cemetery was actually kind of cool.  Lots of big monuments and such.  

Monument for Henry Honychurch Gorringe, brought Cleopatra's Needle from Egypt

After this point, we passed through two more parks and saw some really amazing views of the Tappan Zee Bridge.  After a fair amount of ups and downs, we walk back into town and cross a freeway overpass over 287 - marking the halfway point.  I started thinking "Wow...we still have 9 miles left..." but I was still at this point (naively) optimistic.  

Fast forward an hour, and we are in a road walk spot and Mike tells me his achilles really hurts.  Mike doesn't normally *ever* complain about being tired or in pain during a hike.  And I think he REALLY wanted my to be the first to crack since it was my asshat idea to do this long of a hike.  So now I feel awful because if he is mentioning it, it really hurts.  The trail through Hook Mountain Park was 6 miles but it felt like eleventy jillion.  I didn't take many pictures by this time because the sheer thought of pulling out my phone and having google maps show that freaking blue dot so far from the car made me want to die.  So much so that I took a picture of the random creepy cemetery because at one point I thought I might die of exhaustion or thigh cramps.  

By the time we have a mile or two left, I am literally stumbling down the trail.  I probably would have been mistaken for some really really misdirected drunk by anyone watching.  My knees caps felt like they were attempting to detach from my legs and go on strike.  It was heinous.  How the hell do thru hikers do this every freaking day??  When I finally spotted Mike's car through the trees, I stumbled towards it cheering like it was some sort of Mecca, and possibly hugged it at one point.  

Moral of the story - I am a freaking wuss.  324.05 miles left.

It actually was a really pretty hike, and I probably would have enjoyed it more had I not thought I was some sort of hiking superhero when I planned it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Section 1: 12.85 Miles down

Two weeks ago I started the first leg of my trek of the Long Path (Yes I know I am very late posting about it).  This section ran from the Fort Lee Historical Park to the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory almost 13 miles to the north.  We decided that the best way to do this non-loopy route was the bring our bikes, drop them off at the observatory, then park at Fort Lee.  At the end of the hike, we'd bike back.

So we park at Fort Lee, which is actually a really cool site with a lot older monuments and such left, such as this watchtower.
After we found the trailhead near the visitor center, we started our walk which actually takes you right out of the park and onto the street for the first half mile or so.  Looking for the aqua blazes on light poles and bridges in the middle of a city was a little strange, but soon we ducked into the woods and started a more hikish hike.

Now if you are a hiking purist that wants to be immersed in nature and forget that the modern world exists, this hike is not for you.  For the majority of it, you are sandwiched between the river and the Jersey Turnpike and very rarely out of traffic noise range.  That being said, it really is a nice hike with a lot of beautiful views of the city across the river.
 The GWB at the start of our hike. 
A barge on the Hudson across from what I'm 76% sure is Yonkers. 

The hike was great and you passed through and by a lot of interesting landmarks.  I tried to use my sweet iphone application so I could post techy things like waypoints with pictures, but apparently 99 cents doesn't give you a very, eh...reliable app.  Oh well.

Passing through the woods, you cross many old walls and even a few old buildings.  The most interesting one was right before reaching the Palisades Interstate Park headquarters.  It has no sign or anything explaining it so we took some pictures and moved on, but when I looked it up online later, it actually had a cool story.  It had once been a summer home for a wealthy businessman from the area, and was called Cliffdale Manor.  I found out about it on the Scouting New York blog ran buy a movie location scout.  He has some amazing pictures of what it looked like in its prime.  

The rear of Ciffdale Manor looking into the garage.  

The rest of the hike was pretty much a walk in the woods until at the very end when you started to hit some steeper sections.  One weird part was the fence at the NY/NJ border.  Are they trying to keep Jersey out?  New York in?  I guess we'll never know.  
Yeah, suck it New York.  Husband and I are breaking in.

Now, here's some advice to anyone doing this hike.  After hiking 13 miles, even 13 easy miles, you do not want to get on a bike and ride back.  The ride wouldn't have even been that bad if it wasn't for the 739023754 road bikers that were flying by us every second.  Mike and I have mountain bikes and we're in hiking clothes and apparently we stumbled upon the Tour de France training grounds.  There were so. many. bikers. holy. crap.  All I heard was 'on your left' every 10 seconds for an hour.  Which to my brain sounded like 'on your left fat ass wuss' as they flew past me on the uphills in their spandex on fancy pants road bikes.  So yeah.  I suck at road biking.  Might bring two cars next time instead.