Short Detour to New York City

So, because we were so close to the city we decided to go do some urban hiking in New York City. We spent three days and two nights seeing some of the sights. Chilli, Sweet Pea, and Flash had never been in NYC so it was a wonderful idea.  We went to the 9/11 memorial, the New York Stock Exchange, Battery Park, Little Italy, Chinatown, and took the Staten Island Ferry to pass the Statue of Liberty on our first day. Then we went on bikes through Central Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the NYC Library, Grand Central Terminal, the Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. Tomorrow we are heading back to the woods.

Changing Times

We really loved the sights of the city, but the noise is somewhat overwhelming and bothersome. On the trail people will go out of their way to help each other; here it seems as though helping or even being kind is something foreign. It seems as most people don’t want to be bothered.

I think back to getting into Palmerston, Penn. I got a ride from Amanda, who got me to the post office before it closed, and then we all got a ride from Bella’s mom, who took us all to the hostel. That kindness means the world to us hikers.

Here in the city no one even really makes eye contact with us. No one talks to anyone— unless they are together. No one held a door open for me and when I did that not many even said thank you. Most of the people walking down the street had earbuds in or were walking and looking at their phones.

Getting Back to the Woods

Tomrrow we will go back to the woods and continue our northward trek. The sounds will be different, the people different, and the sites totally different. I’m really glad we did come into the city to do some urban hiking, but my heart is in the woods. I long for the birds’ songs and not traffic sounds, horns blaring. I want to hear the crickets chirping instead of the hum of air conditioning when sleeping. Our eight miles a day of urban hiking can never replace the miles of hiking in the woods.

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Comments 4

  • John : Jun 17th

    I have to come to the defense of NYers here. They tend to be in a hurry so have “the look”, but are actually very friendly and helpful once asked for directions. In a lot of cases, the rudest “NYers” that tourists encounter often turn out to be other tourists. The other issue is many tourists (with or without packs) walk slowly while looking at the sights – but do so walking side-by-side and being like “that guy” driving slow in the left lane. Going into NYC with the expectation quiet is also a pretty unrealistic expectation. Over the years, I’ve also encountered plenty of thru hikers on the AT that have their faces buried in their phones and others that don’t even return a “hello” from a lowly day hiker (who actually gives a lot of round trip rides for resupplies and medical to thrus). I spend a lot of time both in NYC and on the AT, but have reasonable expectations for each environment. I don’t expect the AT to be like Broadway and all of the tourist spots you visited to be like a shelter area on the AT.

    • Julie Wilson-Freeman : Jun 17th

      I never expected the city to be quiet! On the contrary, I expected loud and boisterous. I fully intended it to be the exact way I found it—busy, energetic, loud, and smelly. You missed my point—it was just so totally different from the woods. I didn’t say there was anything wrong with NYers, I just missed the quiet of the woods. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the city, but with any city nowadays, more people were buried with their heads in their phones.

  • Carmen Lomonoco : Jun 17th

    I hike the AT quite often and live in NYC. There are lots of kindness happening in NYC —not everybody needs to say hello etc. It’s how you carry yourself —clearly from reading your post— you seem like a annoying person.

    • Julie Wilson-Freeman : Jun 17th

      I’m sorry you feel as though I’m annoying. I am quite the opposite. I have been told by many people that I don’t know a stranger and am able to talk with anyone about a huge variety of subjects. I’m just trying to make the point that what I witnessed was a ton of people and most everyone was into technology—not everyone—instead of making eye contact and recognizing other humans. It’s a changing world that we live in and that is the only point I was trying to make.


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