Sabbath Day – The AT in NY and NJ
Twice last week I went hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Both were short hikes (though long drives), but each was more restorative than anything I have done in a while.
On Thursday, I drove up north of Pawling, NY to where the AT crosses Route 22. Seven miles to the east through the Pawling Nature Preserve is Connecticut. I hiked west through the Great Swamp, the second-largest freshwater wetlands in New York, encompassing thousands of acres along its length of 20 miles. A long boardwalk extends through the swamp, which is ideal for birdwatching. Red-winged black bird were everywhere, singing.
At the edge of the swamp, the walk gives way to path and the AT heads steadily up Corbin Hill. Two more miles and I was standing at the top looking out over farm fields below, West Mountain and Cat Rocks to the west, and Waldo Hill and Sharp Hills to the north. I strolled among the wildflowers for a while before heading back down. I had thrown my back out the week prior, and this was enough of an initiation for my summer hiking.
Two days later, though, I found myself taking Noelle and August to Pochuck Crossing, where the AT winds through more fields, swamps and marshes near Wawayanda Mountain, New Jersey. The drive alone felt like a mini-vacation (with all our usual family stress involved). August chose to take the boardwalk alone. It was quite fun to watch him a quarter to half a mile ahead of us, still occasionally visible because of the orange sneaker and red camelback he was wearing. He’s grown so much. He walks with great posture.
We finished this family day with a play: Shakespeare’s A Mid Summer Night’s Dream performed by The National Players in the auditorium at Westchester Community College. This highly talented ensemble drew out Shakespeare’s humor and complemented it with physical comedy that kept us laughing out loud. When your son wraps himself in your arms (which he did alternately with both Noelle and I) and snuggles up because he is having such a good time, you know you are where you are and supposed to be, and all is well.