RAMBLES IN THE HUDSON VALLEY (page 5)
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An 8 mile loop between Jones Point and Bald Mountain
Like a landmarked skyscraper on a city skyline the Indian Point nuclear reactor acts as a focal point when climbing the mountains that face it. I'm still not sure if this is due to its gleaming white coat or whether it's just a mater of knowing what it is. I don't go out into the mountains to worry about meltdowns.
A 9 mile loop between Beacon Landing and Schofield Ridge
The deep blue sky filtering in between the canopy of gold and orange was a constant companion as I climbed the wooded path but I had almost given up on finding any views of the river until I reached the Devil’s Ladder. The Hudson though now far away still managed to dominated the landscape.
A walk up the Fishkill
Once I gained access to Fishkill Creek I never left. The water was low enough for me to wind a path upstream on the exposed rocky ledges and stones while remaining high enough to keep my interest as it cascaded down to the Hudson. Only at a choke point between two mills, where the water rushed down a precipitous fall did I need to alter my course.
A loop between Beacon and Bald Hill
The problem with climbing a mountain on a cloudy day is that you are no longer looking at clouds, you're in them. With a low ceiling I found myself engulfed in a blanket of mist as soon as I left the wood road and climbed into the balds. Reentering the forest on the far side of Bald Hill I discovered an abandoned road. Here the mist shrouded forms that rose up before my eyes made me forget the panoramas I had lost.
A 19 mile walk between Pleasantville and Scarboro via the Pocantico Hills
Despite the hint of autumn in the leaves the sun remains so bright and sharp I forget that summer has passed.
A ramble in Tarrytown
When they built the Tappan Zee Bridge it appears that the bare minimum of materials and aesthetics was used in its utilitarian construction for it looks as if it can be pushed over by the slightest nudge. It is amazing what the right light can do.
An 18 mile walk from Pleasantville to Tarrytown over the Pocantico Hills
A gentle breeze fills the valley. As I walk the speckled paths the rustling leaves speak to me.
A 21 mile ramble between Philipse Manor and Tarrytown via the Pocantico Hills
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a photograph of a lone tree set against a field, yet here I am creating another. We all seem attracted to symmetry as if it is a mirror to the microscopic workings of ourselves.
A 16 mile ramble from Philipse Manor to Archville and back down to Tarrytown
The air is still as I pass down a tree lined rutted road along a pasture of long grass; if this is not the meaning of summer it is at least a significant piece of it. It is these things that allow me to shake off the oppressive summer heat, where the sweat rolling down my face is nothing more than the price of joy.
A 19 mile walk between Croton on Hudson and Tarrytown
In places this river is so wide it no longer retains the demeanor of passing down through an actual valley. As the heights of the distant shore recede into thin blue lines I find a need to define the vast space surrounding me in more abstract terms.
A walk to Tarrytown from the Pocantico Hills
I do not understand the attraction to finely manicured lawns. To see the wind curse through long grass is one of life's great joys.
A short ramble in and a sail out of Yonkers
It was a typical still and sultry summer day except that I was out on the water. Under a faint sun the Palisades cast a long pale shadow out into the Hudson. The current remained strong carrying us more than our sails but it did not matter. Only the journey held significance.
A ramble in Yonkers
I find it strange that Yonkers is so typical of a New York river town with its old industrial buildings and homes; it seems so far away from the metropolis, yet it sits up against the city line.
A walk in Croton on Hudson
I picked up a snapping turtle while dashing across the highway. Unless he was attempting suicide I thought the lift would do him good. I put him down near the bank of the Croton River Where I encountered more mosquitoes than I have ever seen in my life. Every time I removed my lens cap about a dozen of these hungry creatures would lit onto the glass before I could get a shot off. Scenes of tranquility are rarely a true slice of life.
A 7 mile walk over Breakneck Ridge and Mount Taurus to Cold Spring
I took some time from the mountains tops to explore the remnants of Storm King Village. The new growth of spring had not yet filled the old dairy to the brim and the rusted remnants of former stalls added their own strange order to the chaos. All things belong to the earth, we are but brief tenants.
A 14 mile loop between Hessian Lake and the Dunderburg
There were few signs of spring to be found, the landscape sitting firmly in winter’s grasp. It would have to be a day of larger visions.
An 11 mile walk from Philipse Manor to the Pocantico Hills and on to Tarrytown
All retains the bareness of winter, but there is a shift in the thawing earth even if I cannot yet see it.
A 11 mile loop between Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow
The light was failing as I returned through Sleepy Hollow, though failing is an odd way to put it. We tie too many definitions to productivity as if there are no meaning to things beyond those relating to commerce. This time of day after the sun has set and before darkness falls can be the most beautiful of all. It is a betwixt hour devoid of definition, a time when our minds can wander without limit.
A 13 mile walk from Greenbrook to Alpine and back down to Washington Heights
How can it be that within sight of the city I can sit here on this dark stretch of beach alone to myself? The swell of millions across the river creates great tides and turmoil but here they are unknown to me. The currents fill and wash away more than earth. All the world is contained in a gentle ripple on a sandy shore.
A 9 mile loop between Beacon Landing and North Beacon Mountain
On reaching the summit of North Beacon Mountain I was confronted by a bunker bristling with all sorts of antennae. I suddenly felt out of place as if I had stumbled upon a clandestine listening post. I nervously awaited armed guards to rush out and seize me but I was only met with silence. As I moved on to a less obtrusive ledge a cloudburst suddenly broke forth casting its long bright rays deep into the valley. From behind the clouds the sun turned to pure gold.
A ramble in the Pocantico Hills
Too often I’ve looked for the dramatic when a simple curve in the road or the gesture of a tree branch would do. It’s amazing how much courage must be mustered up for simplicity.
A ramble about Cornwall on Hudson and New Windsor
With the tide ebbing I wandered a good distance out onto the flats off Murderer’s Creek, staggering about in lazy loops to avoid the remaining puddles. When the Stacy family was killed nearby, this was the edge of the wilderness or at least it was defined as such. Attempts were made to rename the creek Moodna once a more Romantic spirit took hold. Mapmakers like Romantic names, they increase the value of real estate as if this place was not already priceless.
An 11 mile loop between Lake Minniwaska and Lake Awosting
The day was hot, perhaps too hot for hiking. As the day wore on the summer haze began turning the distant green landscape dull until all melted into monotone. Only the white outcroppings of limestone shown through the bleakness like a brilliant smile. The monotony of green had been transformed into the moodiness of grey.
A 17 mile ramble between the Pocantico Hills and Tarrytown
I stay close to the streams where the torrents splash from pools to ravines. Rivulets and rushing cascades serenade me.
A ramble out of Alpine on the Palisades
Here the open geology lessen displays a land in transition. The cliffs are being pried apart for all to see yet they appear still and timeless. We only seem to take note of the cataclysmic, ignoring the signs of change leading up to these events. When a giant section of cliff comes hurtling down it will make the news as if it were not headed our way for centuries.
A loop between Fort Lee and Englewood
The sky had been spitting as I maneuvered for views atop the Palisades. It had changed to a light rain by the time I reached the shore. As the small droplets fell in the river it created strange patterns reminiscent if ice and this late October day became wintery. The rain grew heavier; it was time to head home.
A ramble in Cold Spring
A temple is placed upon the shore. Is it in reverence to its surroundings or does it stand in defiance of them? There are those who feel it is their duty to exploit the gift that others feel they must protect, and yet they all prey to the same god. Today I will have none of it. If I find this place sacred it is so on my own terms.
An 11 mile ramble between Nelsonville and Cold Spring
Sometimes the river mimics the ocean with its whitecaps bobbing on swift waters. Today it’s like glass.
Copyright 2009 Alan Petrulis All Rights Reserved