Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Daddy Day (Overnight) Camp vol. 5, Backcountry Big Apple, Harriman State Park, Stony Point, NY

Harriman State Park
Stony Point, NY

As a kid spending summers in NJ with my dad, there was no better quick escape to the wilds than Bear Mountain in Harriman State Park.  Only an hour from dad's house, we would head up here for climbing, hiking, overnights and even some cross-country.

My friend Adam and I grew up heading out of cities into the wilds.  While I led Manhattan kids into the woods at Hidden Valley, he had served the camp circuit at Beckett in the Berkshires.  Both of us have been eager to take the kids on their first overnighter.  Now we have partners in crime.

Adam suggested a moderate hike near Bald rocks in the southern half of the park.  We reached the peak in an hour, then had a leisurely mile long stroll to a lean to where we ate lunch.  We set-up camp not far from there.  It was an amazing mid-week crowd, where we didn't see another person till late in the day.  We could have been in the real back country and we were only fifty miles from the city.

We spent the rest of the afternoon setting up our bear bag, exploring and making "gnome homes."  I even pulled out the ole whisper light stove to make a huge batch of mac and cheese for dinner.  After a roaring (sanctioned by the park service, don't worry) fire back at the lean to, we sent the kids off for an early bed so we could enjoy a little adult sunset.

Us city-slickers had a little trouble with all the racket that night (crickets are louder than fire engines I guess).  But we made it up and out in no time.  Just enough to enjoy the hike out and head into Tuxedo Park for a big diner breakfast!  What a great escape from the city, and home in time today for naps (for me that is!)