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Sabbath, Spring, Fort Montgomery and the Popolopen Gorge

March 20, 2014

Sabbath Day is my weekly post to keep me faithful to the Fourth Commandment

One of my colleagues here in White Plains maintains a blog. During Lent he has been blogging almost daily on practical and provocative topics. Yesterday he posted on Taking Clergy Health Seriously, and the importance of our getting into the gym, getting outside, and getting good food and good sleep into our systems. One of the reasons I make this sabbath post each week is because I take the richness and priority of sabbath seriously.

Today was the first day of spring, and to celebrate I took my first hike of the year. I was invited out by a member of the congregation I serve who leads trips for the Westchester Trails Association. After a scenic ride of 9W on the east side of the Hudson, we crossed over the Bear Mountain Bridge and parked at Fort Montgomery State Historical Site, just north of Bear Mountain.


Fort Montgomery and nearby Fort Clinton were the site of an important battle in October 1776, battle both on land and on the river. The British outnumbered and overwhelmed the American revolutionaries, but the resistance bought time for the cause of independence in other places. When this section of river was eventually restored to the American forces, a new military base was established a few miles up river at West Point.

Fort Montgomery is also the trail head for Popolopen Gorge, a strenuous five-mile hike up and down each side of the Popolopen Creek and bordered by the Bear Mountain and West Point Viaducts. (You can just make out the creek in the lowest part of the map above). The route on the southern side of the creek was still covered with snow and ice and required careful hiking, but also allowed easy tracking of deer, turkey and other animals. The snow on the northern side of the gorge, which receives sun all day, was mostly gone (as you can see in the photo below). I noted several sites that would be ideal for camping, something I am now committed to doing as soon as the weather is a bit warmer.


Apart from the joy of hiking with a companion (I usually hike alone or with my son), one of the great parts of this day was simply walking beside the creek, alive with melting ice and the sound of rushing water. THIS is SPRING.

My companion and I also learned a valuable lesson: always check your hand or pocket for the car keys before closing the trunk!

Back home, my evening will now will be filled with chicken tika masala, bhindi and naan, as well as Harry Potter, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jacob Lawrence and the music of the Grateful Dead. 

Oh yeah, and early to bed.

How was your first day of spring?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fr Gawain permalink
    March 20, 2014 6:23 pm

    What a lovely photo! And thanks for the mention. My first day of spring was office related, but I’m looking forward to going outside.

  2. March 21, 2014 8:54 am

    Here’s a thirty second video of the falls.

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