Wandering Pine is reader-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
LENGTH 5 miles
DATE October 13, 2017
MAIN FEATURES Beautiful views of the Big Apple, walking trails and happy dogs.
Just got back from a quick work trip to Manhattan that included a hike through Central Park. Being a Scout Leader and part of the 52 Hike Challenge has been such a great way to build in time to stay active outside while juggling family life and working in an office. Keeping a weekly commitment to hiking can be tough in itself, but when traveling, you have to work a little harder to coordinate things before or after work to seize an opportunity to explore new places. Check out our quick little adventure this Spring to Garden of the Gods in Colorado, still one of my faves!
On this 52-hikes-in-a-year journey, I have been asked what I consider a “hike”. It’s different for everyone, but I prefer that it be 3+ miles long, in a natural setting and have part or all of it on the dirt or grass. I don’t consider walking around in my neighborhood hiking…but setting some guidelines has allowed me to expand my hiking experience and meet my goals.
Today, we started the day early with a working breakfast with a client and had about an hour before our next stop opened. We had an hour to kill and taking a cab in New York rush hour can be slower than walking, so I finally had my chance to “hike to work” through Central Park! We started at the South end where the Horse-drawn Carriages were lined up, took a quick photo of the map and headed off!
I had a picture of Central Park in my head from movies, but the first thing I noticed were the large rocks everywhere. This led to a cool conversation about how the bedrock and geology of the region is what supported the original skyscrapers of Manhattan and made the skyline what it is today. The more you know…
We headed North on the walking path and encountered lots of happy dogs…including one lady walking 8 dogs at the same time!
My favorite section of the Park was The Ramble (plus it sounds cool—cue the Led Zeppelin). Compared the perfectly planned landscape of the rest of the park, this is the most like a hiking trail with winding, intersecting trails that are dirt, rocks, and a stream. I could have hiked around and around in The Ramble, but we did need to get to work so we kept on track and moving towards the North end of the Park.
The most amazing thing we saw was the Obelisk, also known as Cleopatra’s Needle. We knew nothing about it when we encountered the 68ft object and the closer we got to it, the more mystified we were by it. Immediately I noticed the ominous black claws coming out of the base and we became even more perplexed at the juxtaposition of these oddly compelling Crab Claws. I couldn’t stop looking at them and completely forgot to take a picture! I initially thought it was some sort of modern art installation attached to this ancient form…I could not have been farther off. Since I knew very little to start about the park, it was such a treat to discover the ancient history of the Obelisk. For instance, that it was already 1,000 years old before Cleopatra was born. Also, that the claws were indeed added later when it became unstable…but in 13 BC! The ancient history of this amazing piece was one of my favorite parts of the trip.
As I write this post on the flight back home, I’m feeling grateful for a productive trip on the work side of things and I’m so glad we got to squeeze in a little time to explore Central Park. The best trips are the ones that leave you wanting to come back again and I look forward to unpacking the history of the Obelisk and “rambling” back into The Ramble another day.
So, how do you make time for adventure? Do you squeeze it in, schedule it out, enjoy little trips, or save up for epic adventures? Sign up for challenges or races? Got any good stories of taking in a hike or mini adventure in the midst of your day to day life? Post it here, I’d love to hear about it!