Do you ever think there’s nothing left to explore near your hometown? Most likely, you’re wrong.
Countless times I’ve crossed the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan, or taken the Lincoln or Holland tunnels. And yet, not until last week did it occur to me that the Hudson River is actually quite beautiful, and it might provide some spectacular views of the NYC skyline.
This first occurred to me flying into Newark last week, as the plane followed the path of the Hudson down towards Manhattan, finally landing in New Jersey. I started to wonder how the river got such a bad reputation, and if the conservation efforts that have reached other areas of Jersey extend to its banks.
I was also feeling a bit stuffed after Thanksgiving dinner, and thought some exercise would do me good. After giving ‘walk along the Hudson’ a google, I discovered a series of walking and hiking trails, picnic spots, and scenic outlooks along the Palisades Parkway, on the bank of the river.
In a quick half hour drive, I was descending a winding road and parked right on the bank of the Hudson. The George Washington Bridge was to my south, about 2.5 miles away by leaf-covered trails. Setting out on my walk, I couldn’t believe the close proximity of this peaceful trail to bustling New York City.
I can’t take all the credit for this find – having a non-native in town always makes you discover new things. But as I stood beneath the George Washington Bridge, pondering the science/engineering/innovation that makes the whole thing possible, I realized that there is always more to explore, no matter your location. With the help of the internet, these places are easier than ever to find.
My forest walk reminded me that autumn isn’t over yet – leaves of bright yellows and reds were still clutching on to branches. Recent rain found its way into small streams and headed for the Hudson. And surprisingly, up close and personal, the water looked clean – even, inviting? On the return walk a lone man on a kayak kept pace with us for the entire few miles.
We encountered families out for a stroll, chipmunks gathering acorns, and birds singing an afternoon song. After a couple days spent in the buzz of Manhattan’s city streets, this walk along the Hudson was a breath of crisp, November air.