Now that my journey has begun, I have found it challenging to write. After each day of walking, I am bone tired, and fast asleep by 9:30 p.m. There is a little bit of guilt in not staying as connected as I thought I could be; after all, friends who have, and are, biking the greenway seem to write every day.
So here goes... a look at the first few days in one post instead of a post per day.
The sendoff I received was really beyond anything I could have imagined. Friends and family from all walks of life showed up. And the Freewalkers, of course, helped organize my chaos I faced in leaving home for two months.
Thanks to Mary for dropping me off at my official starting point in Nomahegan Park. From there, I headed to Lenape Park where everyone was to meet.
Here are some scenes from the first day's festivities:
Day one ended with less than ten of us at Newark Penn Station.
The second day was a bit easier. Jeff, along with Teddy and Lilly, dropped Cory and me off at Newark Penn Station for our walk to Hoboken. There was one hairy part where there was no sign of a trail, only a concrete barrier and some construction equipment.
But we prevailed, and crossed over the Hackensack and Passaic River bridges, into Jersey City. The walk ended along the waterfront to the Hoboken terminal. Day two, in the books!
The third day I spent with a fellow Freewalker. Ed was kind... and patient enough with me, starting with my lateness in meeting him in Hoboken thanks to delayed trains and my first day out with my big pack.
We spent a good portion of the morning traversing the waterfront, from Hoboken to Weehawken, Edgewater and finally, Fort Lee. The approach to the George Washington Bridge was steep, and I had to stop a few times thanks to the heavy pack. But my decision to walk up the Jersey side of the greenway was worth it once you saw the views, including signs of where we had started that day.
Once over the bridge, emotion took over a bit; I had just crossed into my second state on my journey. Thoughts of why the hell I'm doing this, who and what I've both lost and found as a result, took over momentarily.
Ed nudged me to keep moving, and we made our way toward Fort Tryon. Near Dyckman Street, into Inwood, I called it quits for the day. My feet said, "no mas!" So my traveling companion and I parted ways, and I parked my butt in some bar and drank two giant lemonades before meeting my host, Colleen, for the night.
My first night away, after the long and tiring day of walking, I had the pleasure of dining with Brothers Bill, Ed and Joe, along with Colleen and her daughter Maeve. The volunteers cooked an amazing meal.
And then I was asleep somewhere in the Bronx a little after nine o'clock.
Scenes from Hoboken, NJ to Fort Tryon, NY:
My fourth day out was the first time I'd be walking on my own. Since I hadn't officially made it to Marble Hill like I was supposed to, I backtracked to a Starbucks next to my lemonade stop the prior afternoon to begin.
The greenway signs were easy enough to spot, thank goodness. It was a quick walk over the Harlem River to Marble Hill, and then a pleasant enough stroll on Tibbett Avenue towards Manhattan College.
Crossing Broadway at W. 242nd Street, I entered the Van Cortland Park Greenway, where I happened upon a golf club. Continuing on, you enter a maze-like area running parallel to the Mosholu Parkway. I had a moment where I thought I made a wrong turn, but hadn't.
Further on, you enter the Bronx River Greenway, which then becomes the Pelham Parkway Greenway. It was on this stretch I was worried about some rain, which thankfully never appeared.
I won't lie; somewhere in here I may have sung a few rounds of '99 barrels of beer on the wall' to distract myself.
But then I was on full alert as I prepared to make my way to Shore Road Parkway. I was traveling along and crossing entrances to the Hutch and I-95. My heart ended up in my throat when I saw a large, lumbering man on the side of the highway; I had visions of becoming Bithia to his Jebidiah (thank, Roni!) but I managed to cross - safely - to the other side onto Shore Road.
Once across the bridge, I traveled along another wooded greenway, exiting to the sight of grand homes. The last leg led me to meeting up with my host for the night, Lisa!
Lisa and I ate at a delicious Italian restaurant called Agostino's. If you're ever in the area, stop by; you won't regret it.
The next morning we set out from New Rochelle to cross into Connecticut, my third state.
The air was thick, my allergies kicked in, and my feet hurt as I had gotten a blister the day before. But the hot herbal patch Jen gave me helped ease some back pain.
We had made it all the way into Rye, with a slight diversion from the ECG. The map indicated we had to travel on the Playland Parkway, but that did not seem safe, so we chose an alternate route. But we made a wrong turn somewhere - I was very mad at myself, I will say - and instead of turning towards Port Chester, we were backtracking further into Rye.
Lisa said, "We walked the miles, no shame in making up the difference with an Uber." My feet agreed, and off we went. A quick break led to a New York send off with a margarita at Bartaco before we crossed the Byram bridge into Connecticut!
The night ended with a bonus, dinner with Carol! Three beach house friends just catching up.
So here I sit on my rest day, with no shame in doing nothing at all this morning. But now it's lunchtime, and since my hotel is right near the greenway, I might walk a few miles north (without the heavy backpack) in search of something to eat. Those miles count, right?