Sunday, November 29, 2015

NYC Hiking via subway: Caves, glacial potholes, salt marshes...who knew!

A different kind of city Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan

The unusually mild November in New York has us exploring the outdoors still.  Thanksgiving weekend was a great time to go hiking nearby.  And by nearby, I mean, we could have taken the subway to this forest in the city.  Inwood Hill Park, which is near the Dyckman Street A-train stop at the northern tip of Manhattan, really surprised us with its naturey-ness.  No one was there (we saw 10 people during a 2-hour period) and there was everything you'd want in a family hike with kids, but only 30 minutes away from Park Slope, Brooklyn...

Excerpt from the above link:  The 196-acre park includes not only dense woodlands, but a rugged topography of giant ridges overlooking the Hudson River, Indian caves, glacial potholes and Manhattan's only remaining saltwater marsh as well. This little-visited urban wilderness is at its best in springtime and is always just a subway ride from anywhere in the city.
Inwood Hill Park is more than just a tranquil forest with great views of the Hudson. ''It was the place for adventure,'' Mr. Stern recalled. ''The park was always overgrown and full of surprises - from the caves to the old foundations and remnants of houses.''
It's also a geological wonderland, a birder's paradise and an area rich in local history and legend. And with its soccer fields, baseball diamonds, nine tennis courts and meadows for picnicking, it's a good place to play, yet not far from the madding crowds of other city parks. The best way to get to know Inwood Hill Park is to wander its more than 10 miles of footpaths, beginning at the main entrance at Seaman Avenue and Isham Street. Beyond the flagpole, a trail winds up the hill, overlooking the waters of Spuyten Duyvil Creek and a small, marshy lagoon.

Excerpt from above link:  On the northern tip of Manhattan, a twenty-minute walk from the subway,  is an historical site so rare and unexpected that it warrants a detour on any tourist’s itinerary.  The majestic “Indian caves” of Inwood Hill Park were once used as a seasonal camp by the Lenape people who lived in the region before the arrival of explorer Henry Hudson in 1609.  The caves, created by the tumbling of rocks during a glacial retreat more than 30,000 years ago, are a picturesque reminder of the Native people who once lived on Manhattan Isle.

Excerpt from above link:  Inwood Hill Park, a 196-acre oasis at the northern tip of Manhattan, features the last remnant of the tidal marshes that once surrounded Manhattan Island. The marsh receives a mixture of freshwater flowing from the upper Hudson River and saltwater from the ocean’s tides. The mix of salt and fresh waters, called brackish water, has created an environment unique in the city.

Excerpt from above link:  These glacial potholes, which look almost man-made, are the product of glacial runoff that occurred during the last ice age some 50,000 years ago.  During a huge melting event “turbulent, rock-fortified swirling water making its way through crevasses reached the underlying bedrock and drilled the holes.”  (A Natural History of New York City’s Parks, Linnaean Society of New York, 2007)

Whoah, we're in a cave in the city!

Hey Hudson River!

Yo, caves are cool!

Collecting nature treasures

Forest in the city!

Glacial potholes!  Nature's cup!

We left most of our nature treasures at the gate of the park for others to enjoy

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