Monday, 6 June 2011

The First Official Misadventure of the Summer

If you have the first Official weekend of the summer, you also have to have the first Official Misadventure as well. And how.

We decided to go for a day hike up in Harriman Sate Park- the weather was beautiful and not so hot that it would be unpleasant. Harriman is about an hour north of the city in Rockland Country, and probably the first real nature place you might come across if you want to get out. A good stretch of the Appalachian trail runs through the park, and there are several small mountains and good sized hills that have trails. It's ideal for day trips and you can even take the Metro-North trains to the trailhead.

We packed our lunches and got an early start in the trusty old Honda Civic that has been on the road since I was in Junior High School. She's a little long in the tooth, but she runs, has low mileage and is a great beater of a city car. Despite being broken into a couple times, no one has stolen the tape deck yet.

We're driving along the Palisades Parkway, almost to the trailhead, when the car started to make a noise like something was caught up in the wheel well. Almost like the tire blew, but with none of the dramatic loss of control that comes with it. We pulled off the next exit and pulled into a parking lot to investigate the mystery noise.

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That's odd. I distinctly recall leaving Brooklyn with four tires on the car.

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Really now. Does this qualify as a flat? "Goodyear", my ass.

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Once we got over the fact that the tire had pulled a David Blaine-style vanishing act, we got to work putting the oft-used donut on to get us to a nearby garage. Oh, by the way, is the car leaking something? I think there's a puddle actively forming under the engine-area. Yes, I can change a flat, and I know what it looks like when the radiator is spewing coolant, but I'm rather helpless otherwise when it comes to the car leaking mystery fluids.

Being Sunday, the closest tire place we could find was a Sears in the Nanuet Mall. We had some time to kill, so we actually went into the mall. Bry was excited since this was the hangout he had spent so much time in when he was growing up.

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It was an eerie ghost town. He was baffled at the change, and I was just kind of creeped out. There was a Sears at one end, a Macy's at the other, and two levels of empty mall stores in between. The ceilings were water-stained and the paint peeling. It was a huge, semi-abandoned temple to former commerce.

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The food court was mostly empty as well.

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It was a Sunday afternoon and there were only a couple people in the entire place.

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The centerpiece fountain had been filled in with dried-out mulch, bits of trash and long-bloomed bromelia.

Just walking around and taking pictures, a security guard and another worker stopped me to ask what I was doing. They were both curious as to what I was finding so interesting to take pictures of. Apparently when the giant Palisades Mall opened up down the road, all the businesses and shoppers went there.

Well, that was a depressing detour.

With the car finally back on four wheels and the leak diagnosed as something to be dealt with another day, we were back on the road on the way to the trail head.

We didn't hike quite as long as we intended since it was not much later in the day than we planned on, we still got a good 6 miles of hiking in.

It's a lot of hills and rocky trails and some steep ascends. We saw deer with their fawns, hundreds of chipmunks and squirrels, and more than one mosquito.

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We hit a part of the AT called the Lemon Squeeze. It's a bunch of tight rock formations that you alternately squeeze and clamber up. If you have a big pack, you'd have to take it off to push through.

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Being part of the AT, we did encounter a couple of hikers who were on their way to Maine.

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We usually do a nice Katahdin hike when we are up in Maine in the summer. Rather intelligently, we don't walk the 793 miles there. We save our strength and make the airplane or motorcycle do most of the work. I do totally respect the through-hikers. They are an unusual, and ofttimes fragrant bunch.

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We ended up with a beautiful afternoon and made the most of our abbreviated hike.

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This is where were were planning on having our lunch on the trail. Ah well. The curb of an abandoned back parking lot got as fed just as well.

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I just love the pleasant exhaustion that hits you at the end of the hike. You really feel like you've earned that ice cream.

I guess the good part about being stuck waiting for the car to get out of the Auto-ER is I did get some knitting done.

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These are the Rivendell socks. I'm using a skein of Holiday Yarn's sock yarn in the "Burnt Orange" colorway. I had started them on the plane coming home from Arizona, and then promptly set them down because they were fussy with all the wrapped clusters of stitches. I bucked up and finished the fussy part and now they should coast right along.

I really hope this constitutes as our one odd happening of this summer.

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