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Rail Trail Walk

Sunday, November 03, 2013

My wife and I went to visit my brother the other day and on the way home we stopped to take a hike along the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. The HVRT uses the abandoned rail bed of the Harlem Valley line of the New York Central Railroad. The stretch we hiked runs through Columbia County along the base of the Taconic Mountains.

The trains that ran this route carried passengers and freight from the 1850s to 1976. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a coalition of volunteer and government organizations purchased the right away and began forming a 22 mile long linear park.

The finished portions of the trail are paved with asphalt to a width of 10 feet. The relatively smooth surface and gentle grades make a wonderful place to jog, bicycle, roller blade, or in our case, stroll. When we were there there were other walkers, bicyclists, and this woolly bear:

There was also this garter snake trying to get warm in the autumn sunshine:

It was a sunny day and there bittersweet vines aplenty ...

... as well as some berries that we couldn't identify. Can you?

In fact, along one stretch of the trail, vines had pretty much grown over every bush and tree. It made me afraid to take a break in case they started growing over me too!

You always know where you are on the trail as there are the old distance markers left over from the railroad days. We turned around 103 miles north of New York City's Grand Central Station and returned to our car for a total amble of four miles.

That's Mrs. TaiChiDancer in the photo.

We think the Harlem Valley Rail Trail is a tremendous resource for outdoor fitness. If you want to see maps and more info, visit www.hvrt.org.

Spark on, friends!
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