Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Delaware River, Lenape, and Minisink hike

Tri-state monumentBack to New York City area hiking - not quite as spectacular as what Colorado has to offer, alas. This hike with the New York Ramblers was a ten-mile jaunt near Port Jervis, a town in New York but bordering New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

This photo was taken at the Tri-State monument, which we encountered near the beginning of the hike. To get there, you have to walk through an impressively large cemetery. From the monument, you can see New York in the foreground, New Jersey on the left, and Pennsylvania on the right.

Technically, this first part of the hike was on the Delaware River Heritage Trail, although it primarily makes use of streets in this area rather than feeling like a trail. From there, we walked to the Lenape and Minisink trails. The Lenape, blazed white, follows a ridgetop; the Minisink, blazed red, has more ups and downs. Both offer a few viewpoints into valleys below.

Now those of you who have hiked with me know that I do not like bees. I am not allergic, nor have I had an Incident, nor do I even get stung often - but bees seek to be particularly attracted to me. They will surround me and ignore my companions, which is quite unnerving. I also don't like hornets, wasps, or yellowjackets, although that is more rational. (If you've ever been chased by angry, aggressive hornets, you understand.)

So when we were about to start the loop, and I realized we were stepping through a particularly buzzy area, anxiety kicked in. But by that point going back was as bad as going forward, so forward I went. Two of my companions were stung, although I was not. However, I realized that we were going to come back this way at the end of the hike, so I had several miles in which to nurse said anxiety. What species were they? Would I recognize the spot when we came to it? Would I be eternally embarrassed if I detoured a mile around it through the undergrowth?

In the end, I did not recognize the spot and did manage to get stung, which while unpleasant was not nearly as bad as worrying about it. Several other hikers got it the second time around, too. My surmise is that these were yellowjackets - they seemed to be flying low and thus probably ground nesters, and a fellow hiker who got a better look said they were black and white.

That was probably the most exciting part of the hike, unfortunately. Otherwise it was pleasant enough. The hike itself was not strenuous, with less than 900 feet of elevation gain. The humid weather presented its own challenges, but you can't blame the trail for that.

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