Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Day in the Palisades

After the rainy, stormy days in the New York Tri-State area, I was so pleased to do some hiking in Palisades Interstate Park which is less ten miles from where I live. My friend planned this outdoor adventure several weeks ago, and various people were invited, but I wasn’t surprised that the group shrunk to two determined people. After all, on weekends many people want to sleep in rather than wake up early and venture out into nature. I, on the other hand, was looking forward to it.

I have always loved the outdoors, and hiking in the woods and mountains is one of my favorite things to do. I feel regenerated when I go out and challenge myself on rocky paths or crossing through small streams over stones, and leaning against trees that are over one hundred years old. While on our hike, my friend and I met two other enthusiastic hikers who told us that it was the perfect time to go hiking; apparently the woods look best the day after a rain storm, and I agree. Even having lunch by the Hudson River looking into Westchester was soothing and just what I needed after being shut up indoors for several days.

I appreciate Palisades Interstate Park even more after learning how it was created. In 1900, the governors of New York and New Jersey partnered together to create a commission that built and managed the park, after the area was devastated by quarry operations. I was surprised to learn that even back then, there were those who realized how important preserving nature was, and how future generations would reap the benefits of their efforts. As I admired the waterfall we passed on our hike, and watched two hawks and an eagle circle over our heads as we looked out over the water after it was over, I felt thankful to those who passed away years ago who made it possible for me and everyone else present that day in the park to see it at its best. I will be a regular visitor from now on.

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