Sunday, September 14, 2014

Van Cortlandt Park hike

UnderpassThe Friends of Van Cortlandt Park group offers led hikes about once a month, so I decided to go on their September hike. I went in part because it was in the northeastern woods, a part of the park I don't know very well.

We hiked about four miles, starting at the wetlands in the southeastern, and then following the Croton trail into the northern half of the park. Luckily, the forecast rain held off.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Trail building with Friends of Van Cortlandt Park

In the ditchYesterday, the Van Cortland Park volunteer trails crew started up again. We worked on a drainage ditch on the John Muir trail, in an area that can get pretty damp.

The ditch had been dug and the inside wall built from rocks. We lined the bottom completely and made good progress on the outside wall.

Although it was supposed to rain in the late afternoon, it held off. Although it would have been nice to see the ditch in action!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Appalachian Trail hike

Eastern PinnaclesOn Sunday I went hiking with the Ramblers. The weather left something to be desired; it was brutally humid, and the forecast called for late-afternoon rain. Still, there was going to be ice cream, so why not?

The hike started in Sterling State Park and then hopped onto the Appalachian Trail, ending at the Bellvale Farms Creamery. Although the hike was 14 miles, it felt longer. At 3:30 we got caught in a downpour, although being under the trees provided some shelter. Even after the rain stopped, we had to be careful climbing on slippery rocks.

We arrived for ice cream with perfect timing - 30 minutes prior to the next bus. The ice cream was very good (and I don't think it was just that everything tastes good after 14 miles). Then, as we waited for the slightly late bus, the rain returned - hard. My rainjacket covered my torso, but the rest of me was totally soaked, which was pretty much the case for all of us. Then the bus came and we had to endure two hours of blasting air conditioning. I was never so excited to get to a stifling hot subway platform in my life!

Nice hike, though. Rain happens.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Not-so-obvious lessons I’ve learned about relationships from my past relationships

Some days I’m not sure I am learning anything, because I make the same damn mistakes over and over. Other days, I think maybe I have, even if the lessons are basic stuff. Like: Don’t date someone in the middle of a divorce. Did I really need to learn that the hard way?

These are the less obvious things I’ve learned. They may not apply to people dating for the first time - we all had to learn to be good kissers - but they do apply to both men and women. Except maybe #3.

  1. Your relationship(s) will not look like the models you grew up on. Whether it was Disney or your parents’ relationship or When Harry Met Sally, don’t try to reproduce it. You aren’t them (and, face it, none of us are Disney princesses), and times change, and stories always sound better after the fact.
  2. Most people are living the life they want. Unless they’re involved in actively trying to change it, don’t assume they ever will. Think hard about whether you can really share that life.
  3. Never date a man who calls you “pretty.” If they don’t think you’re “beautiful,” they think they’re settling.
  4. If the sexytimes are boring now, they’re not going to get better.
  5. Don’t date anyone with active mental health issues. I’m not saying you should never date someone who struggles with, say, depression. But if they’re in the middle of a very active battle with it, they aren’t in a good position to be starting a new relationship.
  6. If they aren’t willing to tell their parents about you, run like hell. (Exceptions can be made if they had an insane childhood and have cut off all contact with their parents. I haven’t experienced that one, but I imagine it comes with other challenges.)
  7. If you think you can do better, go out there and try. You’ll either find your inflated ego being knocked back down to a more realistic size, or you’ll discover that you have been selling yourself short all along.
  8. There is no value to nurturing a long-term crush. Either make your move or move on.
  9. If someone truly loves you, they’ll find a way to tell you. It may not be with those words, but they’ll make it clear.
  10. There are certain events in your life your partner has an obligation to be there for, such as funerals, illnesses, and getting out of prison. If they aren't there for you in those times, you're better off without them, because you are already doing the hard stuff without them.

Walking to the Bronx

Metro-North bridgeI had walked the bridges that connect Manhattan to Brooklyn, Queens, and Fort Lee, and between Queens and Brooklyn, but I hadn't realized until recently you could walk from the island of Manhattan to the Bronx via the Henry Hudson Bridge.

I started from the northern side of Inwood Park, meaning I had to wind around to end up where the entrance to the bridge is. The bridge itself isn't inspiring to walk on, as the pedestrian walkway is on the lower level. However, it is on the western side, so there are expansive views of the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. During my crossing, the Metro-North bridge below me pivoted open to allow a local cruise ship through.

Rather than turning back, I decided to explore the area and then walk east to the 1 train. The neighborhood under the bridge has a small park, some actual single-family homes, and a Metro-North station. The riverfront here is taken up with railroad track; that plus the bridge makes for a slightly noisy neighborhood, but the houses feel surprisingly tranquil (and are even more surprisingly affordable. I mean, relatively. For New York.).

From there, I realized, I could walk back to Manhattan another way, by walking to Marble Hill. Geographically it's part of the Bronx, but jurisdictionally it's part of Manhattan, because it used to be part of it geographically. (Perfectly clear?) From Marble Hill the Broadway Bridge crosses over to the island of Manhattan, and I didn't realize it was a pedestrian bridge as well. It's actually a much easier way to cross over - except that technically both ends are in Manhattan!