Paddling Lake Skannatati

Harriman – Bear Mountain State Park is practically in my backyard. I can go on short notice without a lot of preparation for a quick nature fix or a little exercise. Sometimes that takes the form of a hike up Bear Mountain or another trail and sometimes I’ll venture out in winter to skin up the long defunct Silvermine Ski Area and make a few casual turns.

Lake Tiorati Ranger Station

My original attraction to the park was it’s lakes. They’re ideal for a quick early morning paddle in a canoe or a kayak. When I first moved to Rockland County, I spent many hours paddling an old solo canoe I used to have, either by myself or, once Junior came along, with him seated on my blue cooler in the bow. We did that for a couple years, eventually switching to a larger canoe that could fit the whole family.

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Between Two Worlds: The Long Path Trail

Poles? Check. Pack? Check. IPA? Check. Metrocard? Checking for this item was something new.

For some context, my year and a half of country living is being interrupted by this year of teaching back in the city. I plan on making the move full-time upstate this summer, but my intuition told me to go back to the city for one more year.

West Side Highway
West Side Highway

I don’t know how to express to people how hard this is. Being upstate was so transformative. In the city you always have to be on guard. If you appear weak, whether it’s walking down the street or standing in front of a classroom, then you’re a target. It’s constant vigilance and anticipation.

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Kayaking Cold Spring NY

Cold Spring is one of those towns which is almost too cute. It’s located on the eastern shore of the Hudson River about sixty miles north of the city and a few miles north of the Bear Mountain Bridge.

Bear Mountain Bridge

It’s full of charming restaurants, cozy B&Bs and quaint shops — just the kind of place that draws lots of visitors on a pleasant summer afternoon. It’s also a great place to paddle a kayak, which is why I find it interesting.

The widest part of the Hudson, the Tappan Zee and Haverstraw Bay, are just south of Cold Spring; the river — an estuary really — narrows considerably just before Bear Mountain Bridge. Tidal currents can be strong and fast.

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