Thursday, June 14, 2012

Van Cortlandt Park hike

Today, I hiked the John Muir Trail. No, not that one. No, not that one, either. Just a very short one in the Bronx's own Van Cortlandt Park.

VCP is large for a city park, but it's still no Appalachian Trail. Still, I managed to get lost at some point after I crossed under the Henry Hudson Parkway (see photo). It crosses quite a few other trails and is woefully short on trail markers. Not that I was Moses, exactly, in the wilderness for 40 years, but I ended up in the southeast corner of the park, not the northeast. The bonus was that I got to see a wetland, which wasn't shown on the map.

While the trail didn't pretend to be wilderness, it had some charming spots, as well as some nice flowers. However, it definitely needed some maintenance in spots, in addition to more markers. Some judicious pruning as well as litter pickup where it passes near the highway would do wonders. (You can volunteer here if you are a civic-minded New Yorker.) Still, it was in far, far better shape than the trail I encountered at Pelham Bay.

If you're a New Yorker, this park is worth visiting if you want to get off-pavement - especially if you're in the Bronx or northern Manhattan; coming from the eastern part of Brooklyn, it would no doubt be easier to get out to Long Island. The park is on the metro lines, so it's more affordable than heading out of town. And there are other unpaved trails at the park, which hopefully I'll be able to find next time. I've even heard tantalizing tales of a waterfall.

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