Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hiking in my anus

So wanting to get out of the city as we so often do, yesterday Aviva and I went hiking in the Mianus River Gorge Preserve.

It's not Mee-ah-nus. It's not Migh-ah-noose.

Nope. It's My-anus. Really.

Its just about 40 minutes from the Bronx to Mianus, making it a really easy day trip. We got to the preserve, had some chicken sandwiches and started walking quickly to get ahead of the large family who was starting just after us. I was particularly excited because it was going to be one of the first times I would be able to use my new camera outdoors in such a beautiful place, so as soon as we lost the domestics I unpacked the camera. There was so much to shoot with all the autumn foliage and the beautiful creek. And as I am trying to get more involved in photography, I tend to take a lot of pictures anyway. Its even worse now that I have a tripod and an automatic picture attachment, so I have to give Aviva props because she is very patient with my endless picture taking. And despite the vast amount I still have to learn, I feel like I am making some improvements.

Anyway, the trail was short, about 5 or 6 miles round trip along this small river. It is really scenic though, walking through an old-growth hemlock forest and down to Havemeyer falls. Even though the temperature started to drop a few weeks ago, winter is still coming on late this year and a lot of the leaves are still changing. The trail was covered with fallen reds and yellows, while the canopy above was patchy and yellow green. About a mile in we passed an old quarry where farmers and miners used to dig out quartz and mica, a huge granite bowl cut into the hillside, with chips and chunks of quartz all over the ground.

After the quarry we wound our way through a stone wall that paralleled the trail, and came out onto a look out along the reservoir from a view point about 2 miles in, it makes for a spectacular view. The colors of the leaves on the far hillside were distinct and varied, making it look like someone had painted the trees for viewing just from this spot. After taking in the view, we got out to the farthest point on the hike, Havemeyer falls, passing some beautiful blue pools at the top of the falls before descending along the trail to examine the cascades themselves.

The falls were small and separated, with several small cascades separated by a series of rocks. Small falls but still quite beautiful and the setting and the color of the water were gorgeous.And even though the falls were surprisingly small, following them out to the river netted an incredible view down the gorge to the reservoir at the end. This required a bit of fancy footwork crossing the rather wide creek and getting across the mudflats surrounding it, but it was worth it.

Staring down the valley, past the deep shade on the right and fiery forest on the left, you can just see the Mianus river cut a winding silver line along the ground into the deep blue of the reservoir at the bottom. The muddy ground is soft and giving, and you can see an occasional sea shell or mussel, making it seem like this place is much closer to the ocean covered past than the trees around it. The view really captivated me, filling me with a sense of time and age, making the world there seem deeper and more patient. It was awesome.

The way back was much less exciting, the only notable occurrence being the water and mud we had to wade through to get back to the trail. At the top of the falls, we took a last look and I put my camera away and we got moving again, covering the 2.5 mile trail in about an hour, and once back to the car we headed home to the Bronx.

A fantastic day.

To get to Mianus River Gorge Preserve from New York City, take Hutchinson River Parkway north to 684. Follow 684 towards Bedford, passing through Connecticut briefly around Greenwich. Exit at 172 and follow 172 west, turning right at the Mobil station. Turn right at long ridge road, right again on Millers Mill Road and the left after the small bridge onto Mianus River Road. The entrance to the Mianus River Gorge Preserve is about half a mile up the road on the left.

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