To add a little more adventure to our week, we’ve invited Jeff Thrope of Cold Splinters to treat us to a taste of the great outdoors every Wednesday. Check out his new column, and then do yourself and your computer a favor and go sit under a tree.
It's springtime. But you already knew that. The birds are a chirpin', the sun is a shinin', the breeze is a blowin'. We want to rid ourselves of the nasty winter blues that seems to seep in deeper each year we spend out here on the Eastern end of our great (and cold) country. As the darkness says goodbye for the next few months, the desperate cries of wanting to get "out of the city" begin. And why shouldn't they? We all want to feel the grass beneath our feet. We want to scratch the mosquito bites between our toes. We want to get a little dirty. And when we finally get to the woods after the two hour train ride/drive from New York? Well, a lot of us want to get the hell back to the city and eat brunch. Cry, baby, cry.
Camping seems to be a little more vogue these days than the years past, so a lot more people are leaving the city to find a place to pitch a tent, cut some wood and finally find a place to use that Martin Backpacker guitar. (Please don't). Hell, if you're reading this, you know that FADER enlisted me to write a column, so someone out there thinks that camping is cool. I hope. Maybe no one is actually reading because they don't see an MP3 download at the bottom of the page. In any case, most of you won't go camping because you don't have a car. Don't fret. There are a few options that rely solely on public transport. Here's the best one...
Take a Wassaic-bound Metro North line (weekends only) and get off at the Appalachian Trail stop. It's just a little bench in the middle of the woods right in the middle of the good ol' AT. Once you hop off the back of the train, you have two options. Go northeast or southwest. Northeast is across the highway and southwest is through the tall cattails. Both are great, easy hikes and don't require tents, but I'd recommend going through the cattails. There's a lake...
At about three miles, you'll come to a large open field on the side of an old farm. Drop your packs, do some cartwheels, eat a piece of fruit and be on your way. You'll get to Telephone Pioneers shelter in another mile, just after you cross the road. Leave your packs in the AT hut and hike another few miles on the trail to Nuclear Lake and swim, swim, swim. It's a beautiful backcountry-ish lake with a dock on it's far side. Bring some beer, put the cans in the lake for 30 minutes and then take your chances swimming to the island on the west side of the lake.
When you're nice and red, walk back to the hut, make some dinner, feed the thru-hikers and fall asleep around the fire while telling bad jokes. And if you decide to bring your backpacking guitar, sing a verse of "Run Around" for me, okay?
Love you all.