Nature matters to people. Big trees and small trees, glistening water, chirping birds, budding bushes, colorful flowers—these are important ingredients in a good life.
I decided that since we didn't go camping this weekend, we'd at least do a hike in the city. I've been wanting to go to Marine Park for some time, since I keep reading about birding there in other NYC nature blogs. However, it's a longish ride by public transit, so I hadn't gotten myself organized to get there before now; this weekend we had access to a car.
It's finally happened: the boys are at the age to rebel against what their parents want, and for us now that means going camping. Sigh. They actually just grumbled a bit about going and of course had a great time once we set off. That was a couple of hours later than we had hoped/planned; we weren't all packed and ready to go till about 5:30. The drive is about two and a half hours without traffic, and we also had to stop for some groceries and dinner on the way. Traffic getting out of the city wasn't too terrible, but we didn't stop until after 8, somewhere between Islip and Patchogue.
I normally wouldn't go on an organized hike with an outfitter because in general, we have our own expertise. We don't have our own car, however, in which to escape the city heat. I've always wanted to do a yoga or meditation retreat, but they've always seemed too expensive and time-consuming. I happened to spot an Amazon Local deal for a one-day yoga hike with Destination Backcountry Adventures, and one of the dates was July 16, while all my boys are away at Scout camp or the National Jamboree, so it seemed perfect.
The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature is a book I'm sure I will reread or at least dip into again and again. It is beautifully written and packed with fascinating information about the ecology of the eastern forest.
Weeds: In Defense of Nature's Most Unloved Plants is a really interesting book, both fact-filled and thought-provoking.
It's May and that means flowers—the 6th annual NYC Wildflower Week is here. This year, they're expanding their programming to all of NYC's nature, including salamanders, birds, and mushrooms along with our native wildﬂowers.
Events range from botanical walks and garden tours throughout the five boroughs to children's activities. See the full schedule of events here.
We woke to a beautiful day. First we spread out a few damp things to dry on the rocks in the sun and took in the amazing view, with mist rising from the hills below and the city skyline in the distance. We had a big breakfast and the kids and I went down to the AT a bit ahead where there is a stream and pumped to fill all our water. (The West Mountain shelter is on a side trail about half a mile from the AT itself.) We saw deer on the way.
Here we are at the trailhead on Dennytown Road in Clarence Fahnestock State Park.
On Thursday the kids and I went to a bat-watching tour of Prospect Park led by naturalist and bat expert Paul Keim. We met at the Boathouse. The tour was for members of the Prospect Park Zoo volunteer corps (whose director is Keim's wife), but there is also a Twilight Tour on several summer Thursdays which includes not only bat-watching, but a romantic boat ride and wine and cheese for $30 a person.
On Sunday, July 1, we took a lovely boat ride with our extended family around Jamaica Bay to learn about the bird life and conservation issues of the salt marsh environment. The 3-hour tour is run from time to time by the local chapter of the American Littoral Society and we were invited through the Flatbush Food Coop's mailing list. I suggested it as something to do while our relatives, the kids' cousins and their parents, are in town.