Yesterday was an interesting, probably one of the most unusual days of the trip. It was Father’s Day and I was able to talk to my Dad and my kids, Ashley and Jeff. I wish I could have been with them but it was great to talk them on the phone.
The hiking was pretty easy with some climbs on good trails. The interesting and unusual part of the day was hiking through several tourist attractions, the Perkins Memorial Tower, Hessian Lake, the Bear Mountain Zoo, and then crossing the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge (see photo). Since it was Father’s Day there were lots of families out celebrating by having picnics, sightseeing and going on short hikes on the trails near these attractions.
At one point the trail crossed the Palisades Parkway and a road sign showed 34 miles to New York City. According to the trail guide I should have been able to see the NYC skyline but it was a little too hazy.
I hiked with three other hikers most of the day – Tin Cup, Lady Grey and Stretch. We were an unusual group because our ages ranged from 55-62, which qualified us to adopt the name ‘The AARP Hikers’. You can see out picture below at the base of Perkins Memorial Tower.
My destination for the day was the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. Someone had told me it was a Buddhist monastery but it is actually a Franciscan Monastery. As I got close to the monastery I could hear music and the sound if idling tour busses. As it turned out there was a huge crowd there celebrating the Feast of Saint Anthony. Graymoor has welcomed thru-hikers since 1972 and we were allowed to camp on their ball field near a covered pavilion with a shower (cold water only), a sink to was clothes, and a clothes line. Because if the celebration the ball field was being used as a parking area and we were able to do some people watching. For some reason a large majority of the crowd was Haitian and most of them were speaking in their native tongue as they gathered in groups tailgating and picnicking around their cars. It was an interesting and colorful sight. We must have been an interesting sight to them too, hiking in with our backpacks, setting up tents, doing laundry, and taking showers.
Today I have a twenty mile hike to the RPH Shelter. The weather is supposed to be sunny and warm so it should be another nice day, but probably not anything like yesterday.