Split Rock Quarry Explosion: 100 Years Later

In July 2010, I posted a piece about offroad biking at the former Split Rock Quarry in the western suburbs of Syracuse.

Over the next eight years, the piece ended up getting a surprising amount of pageviews from non-skiers in Central New York.

Apparently, they’d stumbled upon it through searches and then posted or e-mailed me several dozen comments about the massive munitions explosion in 1918, mountain biking through the abandoned area, and especially the eerie atmosphere that has reigned there since its abandonment decades ago, even on a beautiful sunny day.

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Rondout Creek: Paddle Back in Time

One of the things I like about the Hudson Valley is that almost any place you go has hosted a semi-significant event or character from America’s history. On the 4th of July, I picked a body of water with a storied past to paddle: Rondout Creek.

kayak launch

We drove up the Thruway to exit 18, turned east to connect with route 9W and headed north into the town of Esopus. Getting off 9W, each turn leads to progressively narrower roads until you find the put-in, a narrow concrete boat ramp with an aluminum dock next to it.

I pulled up close to unload the kayaks, then tucked my truck between somebody’s boat trailer and the surrounding brush. Once our boats were situated, I pushed Junior out into the water, then launched myself.

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Hudson Highlands: Anthony’s Nose Hike

“What can be more imposing than the precipitous Highlands, whose dark foundations have been rent to make a passage for the mighty river?” — Thomas Cole, 1841


When driving east across the iconic Bear Mountain Bridge, a towering, rocky peak looms overhead on the eastern shore of the Hudson River. If you look closely, you can just make out the tan and gray rocky outcropping marked with an American flag often whipping in the wind. Dwarfed in its imposing shadow on a cool summer morning, one cannot help but feel the same sense of awe described by the famed Hudson River School artists and writers in the mid nineteenth century.

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