We don’t hike anymore. Sure on occasion we amble through the trees of Central Park – but to actually plan an excursion – it is not done, at least at the frequency we should.
Why hiking? We could go for a run or a walk and call it good so why go through the extra effort and find a place to hike?
- Health and Fitness – if you put on your best hiking shoes, load up your camelback and head out the door and cover 10 miles on rough terrain, you will hit muscles and fatigue yourself in ways you would not thought possible.
By carrying extra load, going up and down hills, and constantly adjusting to an undulating path your lungs and muscles will be burning in the most pleasurable way!
- Exhilarating – the feeling you have after returning from your hike is akin to euphoria. You will be hyper aware, energized, happy and completely excited about life. The next few hours following your hike you feel like Einstein, ready to solve all the world’s ills.
- Disconnect – nothing is better for you than to only be focused on the next step. Bring your phone, but turn it off. Just breathe, step, listen, and see. The few hours will feel longer and stress will dissipate. Nothing better for the body and mind than to rid yourself of the white noise and zone in on a simple task.
- Nature – We evolved in the wild. Something stirs within us when we get out in the trees. If you haven’t experienced it in a long time or if you have never – go out and get yourself in the environment that made us the species we are today. It stimulates us to think and act, and who couldn’t use a little help thinking and then taking action?? (rhetorical question)
- I’m sure there is more! The benefits of hiking are endless. I have never met someone who didn’t enjoy a well thought out hike.
So now, the question of where? We are in the concrete jungle, where can we go for a hike? Well, let me tell you….
Right across the G.W. Bridge is Palisades Park, and in the park there are numerous trails to take advantage of, but the one gem that I like is The Long Path. It literally goes all the way to Albany! Super easy to get to, simply take the A train to the 175th Street Subway Station and walk across the G.W. Bridge and hook up to the trail on the other side! Follow this link Long Path to learn about the trail history and map. You can also buy a map from the New York – New Jersey trail conference.
Training regularly at As One will more than prepare you to handle a 3+ hour hike, but I would not do much more than that my first day out.
If you are in the city on the weekend and trying to fill your day do this: Call a friend (never hike alone), put on some good hiking boots, fill up your camelback and fill it with you favorite snacks, charge your phone (for emergencies only!), buy a subway ticket, grab a coffee an bagel for the ride to the G.W., then set off on a day of fun and adventure. And I guarantee you will be kicking yourself on why you had not done that sooner!!