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. 

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