Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Walk in he Woods

A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson wrote a well known and highly entertaining book called A Walk in the Woods about his hiking of part of the Appalachian Trail.

Bro. Tom taking a breather. The woods
are lush after all the rain we've had
this summer.

Today (Sunday, Aug. 30) Bro. Tom and I did a little hiking--near the AT, as a matter of fact. Specifically, we started at the lower end of the Camp Smith Trail and headed up toward Anthony's Nose, which is at the eastern end of the Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River. The AT crosses the river via the bridge, then climbs up the back end of the ridge that Anthony's Nose is part of.

It was a perfect day for hiking, after a couple of rainy days related to the passing by of tropical storm Danny. But the Camp Smith Trail, which runs uphill from an old toll house (now a visitors' center) parallel to U.S. Route 6 (along the edge of the N.Y. National Guard's Camp Smith--hence the name!), is a tough trail, narrow in spots, with many steep spots, clambering up rocks; so we made it only about halfway to Anthony's Nose. We're not in the best of shape. After two and a half hours, lunch and various scenic views included, we turned around.
One of the scenic views, looking down the Hudson as a large barge comes upriver, against the current of course, pushed along by a tug. You can see other river traffic, pleasure boats. At the left is the city of Peekskill, at right center Indian Point nuclear power plant. Beyond the power plant, where the river is in view again above the trees, is Haverstraw Bay, with High Tor visible in the distance.

We were surprised to meet very few hikers (unlike my previous excursions on this trail)--just 5 in all, not counting a dog. Here are 3 of them, with dog, and Bro. Tom. It was their first time on the trail, and they were glad of a little guidance, like how to read the trail blazes and the identities of some of the things they were seeing.

This is where we turned around, with Bear Mountain in full view (the big thing on the left side of the photo--maybe you can spot the Perkins Tower on top of it), rocky Popolopen Torne in the center (tho not as high as Bear Mt., a rigorous climb in its own right), and the top of the piers of the Bear Mountain Bridge at the right. Anthony's Nose is the mountain at the right.

Besides our being out of shape, the other disappointment of the hike was the lack of blackberries and blueberries. They were rife the last time I was up there, also in August.

The Camp Smith Trail is part of Hudson Highlands State Park.

No comments: