Day 19

magnified eyeballI’ve learned a thing or two on MyBigWalk.  The first is that everything depends on perspective. The second is that there are pockets of adventure around every corner (see #1, above).

On Saturday Leslie took me on a vigorous hike through Tallman Mountain State Park in Piermont, New York.  She drove to the Palisades Parkway and after a few swivelling turns we arrived at the mouth of a leafy trail that took us to the marshy edge of a lovely estuary, with a view of a little country bridge.

“That’s the Hudson River,” Leslie said. “And that ‘little bridge’ is the Tappan Zee.”  tappan zee

Now, I grew up knowing the Tappan Zee as a huge bridge that spans the mighty Hudson at one of its widest points.  Crossing that bridge with my father at the wheel of our family station wagon and watching the first cliffs of upstate New York come into view symbolized country freedom and summer escape for me.  It meant, in a word, that I was leaving home & suburban life far behind.

“Impossible!” I insisted. “That’s a tiny bridge, the Tappan Zee is huge.”

Pulling my hood tighter around my ears, I followed Leslie out of the forest, onto the picaresque streets of a country town where the mailman was friendlier than some of my neighbors, and the roads were filled with cyclists in bright tights.  We went into Bunbery’s Coffee Shop where I had a tiny bite-size pumpkin muffin, and peered in the window of the Turning Point Cafe, where a couple had installed a plaque commemorating their first date in the 1980s, and their wedding anniversary 20 years later.

Charming country hamlet. Right? 

In view of the Tappan Zee? Yup.

Although it seemed impossible, a walk along the town’s mile-long pier,  straight out into the Hudson River, convinced me that while I may have felt as if I’d been teleported far from home, we were still within easy commuting distance of Manhattan and just directly south of the Tappan Zee.

A little while later, still at sea level, peering across a reedy marsh that is part of the Hudson River Estuarine Research Reserve, I said goodbye to the lovely view of the mighty Hudson, and within minutes we were back on 9W, speeding toward Route 80 with the rest of the crazy urban sojourners.

It was a fantastic country outing.   And so close to home.

Find out more about this hike and the walking/bike path at the Palisades Parks Conservancy site.  Or get directions here.

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