Walking The North Woods

We’ve spent the last few weekends overrun with tasks and obligations of one kind or another. When I awoke this morning, my husband said to me: we need to walk. So we shirked off all kinds of responsibilities and opted for a full outer borough NYC breakfast (egg and bacon on a roll), to simulate our future full English breakfast, and headed to Central Park to walk the loop. The entire outer loop of Central Park is six miles, about half of our daily trek on the Coast to Coast.

Although most visitors to the park congregate on the South end of the park, if you dedicate your entire time to these more heavily populated touristy sections, you’re missing the best part of the park. The North Woods section was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux to replicate the Adirondack region of NY State and the best views of the park can be experienced from this section. Many folks forget, or are unaware, that the park was sculpted to replicate wilderness; it is not a conservation space. When walking through the North Woods, it is still easy to momentarily forget that you are within the city.

I’m a bit reluctant to post photos, as I do not enjoy finding my private photos stuck to a Pinterest board or borrowed and photoshopped for someone’s school report. Likewise, I am careful not to post photos for which I do not have permission to distribute. Therefore it you want to get a sense of the North Woods section, visit this link.

There were many reasons to enjoy today’s six mile saunter: the 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the extra hour of sunlight, the mid-way point ice cream pause ( we are aware that there will not be ice cream vendors along the way points of the Coast to Coast, but we simply couldn’t resist).  Most of all I was struck by my own lack of exhaustion and increasing endurance. Although we have not been regularly walking half loops, I spend about thirty minutes or so at the gym every morning practicing my endurance, which usually includes time running (I am not quite sure which verb one would actually use to describe the experience of what happens on the elliptical) on the elliptical at a high level of Alpine Pass (an alternating elevational pattern). I might not have a more trim physique, at least not one that I notice, but my energy level is remarkably higher and I feel some tangible reward for my often sloppy, never well choreographed,  morning routines at the gym.

Most importantly, walking gives us the time to catch up. Throughout my life the best conversations have always occurred while in motion.

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About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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6 Responses to Walking The North Woods

  1. Visiting the north end of Central Park was one of the things i made sure to do before I left the New York area eight years ago. I’d enjoyed the southern half, but hadn’t seen the northern. It is absolutely worth doing–so different from the more popular end of the park

    • Absolutely. There are so many great places in NY that are under the radar, many of the best experiences I have had in NY have been free, fascinating and very intimate (in the sense that for a major metropolis, there are still many places where one can find solitude or small groups). Thanks for reading and following along!

  2. awalkinglife says:

    I agree, there is no better way to connect and communicate with another person than to walk or hike with him (or her). It sounds like a wonderful day. I am enjoying your blog and am looking forward to hearing the details of the Wainwright C to C.

  3. Pingback: REI here we come! | 30 Ways of Walking

  4. Pingback: Companionable Silence | 30 Ways of Walking

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