City Hike #2: New York City

Part 2 of a series of “big hikes in big cities”. For Part 1, a walk around San Francisco, click here.

August 22nd, 2019

PANO_20190822_091305.vr

Panorama of the New Jersey shoreline from the Hudson River Greenway.

I was visiting New York City to give a presentation to the Google Sheets team (an amazing honor and experience!) and had a few hours on the Thursday morning before my train home.

Naturally, I decided to explore the city on foot. It’s something I try to do anytime I visit a big city.

I find walking the streets of big cities to be fascinating and great for thinking.

This time, I walked from my hotel in the Chelsea area to Battery Park and back, via Wall Street. It was a 9-mile hike that took me two and a half hours.

This hike covered some of the most iconic areas of New York so it was the obvious choice from my hotel, even though I’d seen some of this area before (years ago though).

I started right next to the Flatiron building, which is perhaps my favourite building in the whole city.

Route and photos from New York

route_map

Route of the New York city hike taken from Strava

IMG_20190822_072346

One World Trade Center was my North Star for this walk. All I had to do was aim for it and keep walking that direction. Although it looks a bit like the Flatiron building on the right side of the picture, it’s not. The real Flatiron building is much bigger and more majestic.

IMG_20190822_075635

One World Trade Center up close. It’s big!

MVIMG_20190822_080825

Wall Street — the heart of capitalism!

IMG_20190822_085117

Near the start of the Hudson River Greenway, after leaving Battery Park. Looking back to One World Trade Center from the other side.

IMG_20190822_090943

Looking towards Hoboken, New Jersey, from the Hudson River Greenway.

IMG_20190822_093040

The Red Arrows (from the UK) were doing an aerial display with an American group. Pure chance that I saw this and managed to grab a photo.

Old Rag hike (August 2019)

8/15/19: Last week we were on vacation in Castleton, Virginia, with Lexi’s family. It’s close to Shenandoah National Park. When we realized we were only a half hour drive from the trailhead of Old Rag, we took the opportunity to go and climb it.

It’s a 10 mile loop if you start and end at Nethers, with about 2,500ft of height gain. The summit is 3,291ft high and affords magnificent views of the Shenandoah and foothills. The final section along the top ridge is an interesting rock scramble, through crevices, up staircases, past caves, up gullies etc. and makes for quite a sporting ascent.

It’s a super popular hike for those reasons and because it’s close to Washington, D.C..

We left the boys with the grandparents and avoided the weekend crowd by going on a Monday.

IMG_20190805_095414

Lexi at one of the lookouts part way up the ascent.

 

IMG_20190805_095830

Yours truly at the same lookout.

 

IMG_20190805_100327

Can you see why they’re known as the Blue Ridge mountains?

 

IMG_20190805_115726

Marker post in Shenandoah NP

 

IMG_20190805_101156 (1)

Still on the way up despite appearances. The final ridge involves some entertaining scrambling!

IMG_20190805_103347

Scrambling up a gully on Ridge Trail

 

MVIMG_20190805_101742

Ridge Trail passes through a tunnel between giant old boulders

 

MVIMG_20190805_101354

Through one of the many narrow rock gaps.

 

IMG_20190805_105931

Nearly there!

 

IMG_20190805_111739

Obligatory foot shot on the summit of Old Rag.

 

IMG_20190805_113329

With Lexi on the summit of Old Rag. So lucky that we get to enjoy these kind of adventures together 🙂

PANO_20190805_102337.vr

Summit panorama.

profile

Pretty much straight up and then straight back down!

 

routeMap

It’s a 10 mile loop starting from the parking lot in Nethers.

 

It’s a fantastic hike, and lives up to its marquee status. However, it was popular even on a weekday, so definitely one to avoid on summer weekends.

For more info on Old Rag, check out the: topo on All Trails

Back to Biking!

So the weekly summaries lasted about as long as my shins running up and down the nearby hills. Who am I kidding?

I don’t have the time or inclination to document weekly outdoor stuff, so I’ll just stick to the more interesting adventures. After all, I have Strava to track my every move…

The one silver lining of the running injury was that it got me out on my bike again. Probably far sooner than if I’d just focussed on running.

And it’s been a blast!

IMG_20190708_171544

Back out on the glorious C & O canal!

I’ve been riding 2 or 3 times a week, mostly along the C & O canal as my shins heal up, but more recently including the local roads which are hilly, to say the least!

I rode the entire C & O Canal with my brother in 2014 as part of our Northeastern tour around the US. It’s a terrific ride.

001

185 miles of gravel goodness, from D.C. to Cumberland. So lucky to have this on my doorstep now!

002

Default canal face 🙂

002b

After almost 15 years of loyal service, my old Specialized MTB shoes split at the sole. I’m loving the new Shimano XC5 shoes.

003

Accessories for a 1 – 2 hour ride.

004

Beautiful still morning on the Potomac River.

005

Loving spending time on this bad boy again.

006

Pretty much every ride involves a bit of hike-a-bike to get across the river and down the spiral staircase the other side. Small concession to make 😉

007

Out along the canal with Lex

008

Seems like my boys are enjoying adventure biking already 😉

009

Out on my trusty 2012 Cannondale Synapse. So comfortable to ride.

010

Recently had a week in Rappahanock County, Virginia. Fabulous roads for riding, with very little traffic!

Getting out on my bike also coincided with the Tour de France, so that provided some extra motivation!

Planning:

I’m plotting a number of interesting biking projects for the coming months, including:

  • Ride to Sugarloaf mountain and back from home
  • Finding some riding buddies here in HF
  • Getting out for an overnight bikepacking trip with my family
  • Progressively building up to my first hundred miler since 2014 😱

Reading:

“You have to steal time from the edges of your day, teach yourself to eat on the fly, learn to function on suboptimal sleep, and keep going even when you want to lie down and cry. In other words, just like parenthood.”

Really inspiring article from the winner of the Leadville 100 mile ultra race, who balances that with being a parent in their mid-40s. Super impressive!

See you out on the trails!

Weekly Summary: 6/24/19 – 6/30/19

IMG_20190627_065923

Views of Loudon Heights from the AT through Harpers Ferry

Soooo, the outcome of all this recent mountain running was… sore knees and beginnings of shin splints. Yikes!

Unsurprising when I look back, even though I could see great improvement from an aerobic fitness point-of-view. But if the legs ain’t happy, it’s hard to enjoy running.

An easier week was required!

Monday 6/24 – 3 miles along river and C&O canal

Gentle run, around 9 minute mile pace. Out and back along the river and then the C & O canal. Beautiful evening again. Legs felt ok on the flat but definitely need to take it easy for a while.

MVIMG_20190624_202511

Tuesday 6/25 – Rest day

Wednesday 6/26 – Rest day

Thursday 6/27 – 1.4 mile morning hike around HF

Included a nice climb from the river back up to Washington Street, on top of the ridge. The path climbs directly up, intersects the AT and continues on to come out by Storer College and the ATC center. Could feel my lower legs hurting at first, but eased up completely after half mile or so.

IMG_20190627_065749 (1)

Stairs on the climb back up to town

IMG_20190627_070354

Storer College, now National Park building used for training

Friday 6/28 – Rest day

Saturday 6/29 – 1 mile walk with the family

Walk in the woods along the River Trail, starting from Harpers Ferry National Park visitor car park. Very hot, so the boys took a “swim” 😂

Sunday 6/30 – 1.7 miles along river

Testing out the legs again, specifically lower shins and knees. Ran around 9 minute miles, which is my usual running pace and feels comfortable. Legs were ok, but still feel tender. Going to be a while until I can go running up/down hills again 😦

In other news…

I finally created an inventory of all my adventure diaries from over the years:

inventory_2019