After a busy summer, full airplanes, and van time and festivals and sunshine, I am finally back home in Brooklyn. Just in time for a northeast autumn. Rarely have I been in the city in long enough stints to feel an urge for disciplined escape from the “ island of gneiss and concrete and glass" as Olivia Laing describes it.
But the mountains are a heart space for me. And as it turns out, it is possible and has even begun to feel easy to escape the city on a train for a day hike through the hills.
In the past three weeks I've taken three trips on the North-Metro train from Grand Central Station. Just a little while past Harlem, past Yankee Stadium and through Yonkers, the brick and concrete landscape begins to level into a quieter scene, falling out to the west into a view of the Hudson River.
Within an hour there are numerous hiking trailheads just off of the train tracks. The three trails I've explored thus far:
Bear Mountain State Park (from Peekskill Station)
Mt. Taurus also known as Bull Hill (from Cold Spring)
I cannot deny the feeling of walking off the train and a few hundred feet into the woods. With just a little bit of elevation the Hudson comes back into view, streams of river algae streaking the water like deliberate green on blue paint.
Those photos are of the ruins of Cornish Mansion (and a dear friend). A magical and eery place, Cornish Mansion was built around 1912 just outside of Cold Springs, NY and was abandoned due to a fire. The property has since overgrown with vines and young trees but the hard of work skilled hands is visible and stark.
Another small fascination of mine... things that grow on trees, things we put on trees (and other things). There is something I find so wonderful about trail markers and cairns. Maybe it is the comfort in a sign of travelers gone before.
I rarely listen to music or read on the trail, prefer rather to write and listen to the sounds of small things. Or large things; trees sounding like wind, wind sounding like water. But on the train I often listen to music, and here is what I was hearing and reading during my ride back into the city a few days ago:
If you have a favorite hike, whether near me or far, let me know where you go to wander and think, to be away and just be, alone or in company. And maybe I'll see you on the trail....