Daily Archives: September 16, 2012

No swim

We heard about the Hudson River Swim for Life from the guy who swims past our boat every couple of days. He suggested we volunteer but for the first few days of life here in Nyack we were so busy running errands and doing boat chores that we couldn’t imagine having time. But then we realized that the swim benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and we knew we had to do something in honor of our friend Craig on Anything Goes.

I sent an email to the volunteer coordinator offering our help. She responded immediately and said she would forward our email to the boat captain. The next day he called and said our boat would be a big help as a stationary waypoint somewhere in the middle of the 3-mile swim. The evening before the event they called and we discussed where we should anchor. They wanted us just west of the shipping channel and south of the swim channel. They figured if a ship came through during the swim, they could hold up the swimmers at our boat until it passed. We looked at the chart and checked the tide and current tables and made a waypoint where we are currently anchored so we can return to the same perfect spot. We were very excited, and we talked my swimmer brother-in-law into coming along early the next morning.

We woke up while it was still dark to high winds and a serious chop in the river. Oh no! All week the mornings have been calm and warm but Saturday morning was a mess. Dave called us from the car about 7 am to let us know he was on the way and we didn’t know if we could even launch the dinghy to go get him. We managed to pick him up at the dock, and as usual, he came with fresh flagels, cream cheese and lox. Yum!

We ate a quick breakfast then raised the anchor and headed south toward the Tappan Zee bridge. As we cleared the mooring field I peered through the binoculars trying to spot the boats setting the buoys for the swim route across the river. Nothing. Hmmm. The boat captain told me the night before they would be in a meeting until 8:30 and it was just past that, so I dialed his number.

“It’s Marce on Escape Velocity,” I said. “Are we still on?” I could hear much talking and commotion in the background.

“Oh no! I should have called you.”

Bummer. They’d had to cancel because the conditions weren’t safe and they were trying to see if they could salvage the event. We turned around and re-anchored in our spot. I felt sorry for the organizers, the sponsors and most of all the swimmers and kayakers who had trained for the event. We were very disappointed, too, and we told them to give us a call if it got rescheduled.

Our fun plan for the day was shot so Dave invited us to their house. My sister was at an all-day quilt show so we did a lot of just hanging out. We took advantage of their shower, their wifi and their fully stocked refrigerator, and Dave chauffeured us to a couple of stores and to Trader Joe’s for some reprovisioning. Apparently he still wasn’t sick of us and invited us to stay for dinner. All day the three of us were doing the sailor’s lurch after the bouncy morning on the boat.

We got home well after dark. We hadn’t expected to be out that late and came back to a boat with no anchor light and a hungry cat. We need to keep those things in mind in the future.

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Pump and grind

We awoke to another perfect day. How do they do it? We had breakfast in the cockpit, then dinghied ashore to retrieve our bikes. We hadn’t ridden since Block Island so we thought we’d take it easy on ourselves and rode the four miles along River Road into Piermont then stopped at Bunbury’s Cafe for a pick-me-up.

As we sat there enjoying our coffee and pastries we reminisced about the great trail we’ve ridden many times. But where was it? And could we get there from here? We knew it was high above us halfway up the mountain. We consulted the map on my phone and headed out, wandering through the streets of Piermont trying to orient ourselves to the map on the phone. We asked someone in the street if she knew where the bike trail was. She looked around, then pointed vaguely up the steep street behind her. “Up there somewhere.”

We made our way up and up and up, but the street stopped halfway up the hill and turned back down. I looked at the map again. It showed the trail right next to us. But where? We looked up, and recognized at once the familiar terrain, some 60 feet above us in dense woods. Just before the street crested the hill there was a set of wide stone steps leading up to a steep path up through the woods. We couldn’t see from below, but the map told us that would lead to the trail.

Jack easily carried his light bike up the steps and disappeared into the woods. It took me several tries but I finally got my 40-lb. beater up each step and onto the path and shoved the beast toward the trail. We were greeted by the familiar Piermont Train Station where the Old Erie Path crosses Hudson Terrace. Success!

The Old Erie Path is the middle segment of a three-part trail that runs from Tappan to Nyack. It connects to the Joseph B. Clarke Trail to the south and the Raymond G. Esposito Trail to the north. We joined in the middle — and best — part, through deep woods halfway up the Palisades with expansive views of the Hudson River whenever there was an opening in the canopy and intimate views of houses and back yards below us and more houses further up the cliff above us.



The trail is mostly rough packed dirt and gravel, occasionally narrow, with no barrier at the edge of the steep hillside.


Sometimes the houses are so deep in the trees and so high above us that we can’t see them at all, but we see the beautiful Adirondack style pathways that lead up from the trail.



This one has a drawbridge!


Eventually the trail starts to widen and slope down towards Nyack. It did us both good to be in the woods and to stretch our legs for a while.


We were expecting Nancy and Dave for the afternoon and dinner so we stopped at the wine store to pick up some refreshment then rode back to the dock, locked up the bikes and went home.



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