Saturday, June 26, 2010

New York City's "zero" Day!

Written By: Emily "lightning" Ginger

I've been enjoying living outside and being free from all the societal stresses for the past few months. Since I have always lived in a large city and have never considered living a slower paced life out in the country somewhere. However, seeing how well I have taken to being in the woods I have been contemplating whether I would actually like to have a life out in the country. Since we've been hiking through the state of New York for the past week we decided to take a day off from the trail to go into Manhattan for two nights. We were riding the train through the city while en route to Grand Central Station when I looked out the window and saw the concrete world around us. I anticipated being in shock when we arrived but instead I felt very much at home! I have only been to New York City once in my life, for one day only, when Kate and I made a trip there a few years ago, so by all means there was no reason for a place like New York to feel like my home. However, it was seeing all the buildings, streets, trains, buses, and PEOPLE that made me feel like I was at home. I was reminded of how much I enjoy the hussle and bussle of the city where your "views" are all the food optons and the large variety of people that surround you. What a contrast to what I've been exposed to for the past few months; out on the trail it's a "busy" day when you pass a few strangers who are day or weekend hiking.

We spent a day in New York doing what I would do at home in Chicago: walking down the street and taking in all the people that are out and about. It was glorious! I really enjoy observing others- the clothes and shoes that they wear, the strides that they take, their facial expressions, interactions with others, and their behaviors. When people watching I am by no means judging these people, just simply enjoying the "views." Considering we were in such a large city, we of course took advantage of our 6,000 calorie diet and dove right into all the food choices that were in abundance on every street and along the sidewalks. We also spent some time taking in some culture by exploring various parts of the Met (NY's art museum). It was just what I needed, a nice bite out of what I've been missing.

Although it was great to be back in my element, and though I wish I could spend days on end exploring all that New York has to offer, I am confident that I will be back to do just that. Exploring New York is a different adventure that still lays ahead in the cards for me. Right now I am experiencing one of the greatest adventures that I have had yet, and I was happy to return to the trail to continue exploring my current adventure. I know that society and big city living is there waiting for me when I get home, and I am happy to focus on what it is that I'm doing now because I doubt that I will ever pursue living in the woods for such a long period again. Being in New York was a great reminder (I thought it would be a huge distraction and that Kate and Brandon would have to drag me out of the city) that I am doing something so unique and different that will greatly impact my life in so many ways. Being able to say that I hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail and learned a lot in that time is going to mean a lot more to me than saying something along the lines of I lived in New York City for five months.


  1. Glad you made it out of Manhattan unscathed and are on Trail. It must have seemed pretty strange to change extremes in a short period of time.
    Keep on truckin'!

  2. Did you stop by for a Gray's Papaya hotdog ?

  3. Emily,

    Your excursion in the woods has made me think of my grandparents who both came from Poland, met and married in Chicago and transplanted themselves in northern Wisconsin (wilderness in the 20's and 30's) on a small homestead nestled in the woods, to raise their growing family. My father, your grandfather, was a true woodsman. He trapped, hunted, fished and the woods were his neighborhood, a familiar and friendly place. He loved everything about the woods, from the tallest, grandest trees down to the rotting stumps. Papa spotted every animal, bird, plant, wild berry, track, hornet's nest, beaver den......when he was in his element; he was happiest too. Papa never did cotton to city life down in Chicago, but the city offered a way to make a living in order to raise us five kids. Remember, your grandfather was an "old time tracker and bull of the woods". That's how he liked to refer to himself. If he were alive to see his granddaughter hiking that trail, he would be so pleased and bragging about it big time. Too bad Papa couldn't be here to see you do it, but I can.