Monday, November 03, 2008

The Splenderfitude of the Outdoors

So last Sunday we woke up pretty late, although thanks to daylight savings time we got some of that time back, and headed over to have lunch with Cheo and Maria Theresa. They had company in town, and after a wonderful lunch with the Eugenins, Aviva and I decided to head up to the Arthur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary for some outside time. Its fall, so everything is beautiful of course, and I was really excited to go somewhere new, even if just for a little while.

The Sanctuary is really close to the Bronx, maybe just 25 minutes up the Hutch and 684. Its a smallish preserve, about 300 acres in the heart of Westchester. We spent about 15 minutes looking for raptors just after we arrived, because it turns out that the park is right along a major hawk migration route. They even have bleachers set up for bird watching. After chatting up the bird watchers, we hustled through the forest, taking in the late autumn colors as the leaves turned fiery gold in the afternoon sunlight.

The hike turned out to be very quick, even faster because we were basically jogging to try and get out of the park before sundown. We followed the meandering outer trail along the edges of the preserve, pausing to look at the trees and ponds and swamps and boulder piles scattered along the route. The ground was covered in a thick layer of leafy gold and red and purple, and a loud crunching sound moved with us as we walked. We crossed some small streams and huffed our way up and down the surprisingly hilly trails. As usual, I spent much of the hike stopping to take pictures and then chasing after Aviva, who has long since lost her patience with waiting for me to take pcitures of everything that catches my fancy.

Unlike many of the trails I have hiked on the East Coast, the park was very well signed and we were able to find our way around without even using the map I brought. After a little over an hour, we emerged from the forest about half an hour before sundown, and were home before it got dark.

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