62 Days of Summer
I survived Vroman’s Nose. Hyperbolic? Maybe. But as someone who doesn’t handle the outdoors well and who doesn’t enjoy spending an entire day looking at trees and at whatever else grows from the ground, I felt a sense of accomplishment after my hike around the Vroman’s Nose trail.
More importantly, I learned it’s the perfect trail for the casual observer of nature who still wants to go outside every once in a while. And who likes to exaggerate, like me of course.
The trail is a loop, which means there are two ways to get to the top. You can head up the side that’s kind of steep, or show off to your significant other by taking the side that’s really, really steep.
Just remember that if you take the easier side to begin with, to complete the loop you’ll have to come down the really steep side. The loop in total is about a mile and a half.
I am new to this region and where I’m from in New Jersey, hiking isn’t something you do for fun. I do have family members who hike, and who actually like going outdoors. My dad grew up in a village in India. My mom is more city-oriented, although as a practicing Hindu, she gets up early to thank the sun for its many gifts. So while I’m a rookie, I’m not completely unfamiliar with finding positives in nature and being conscientious of what’s around me.
Vroman’s Nose is a cliff, and the goal of the hike is to reach it. I took the less-steep side heading up, because masculinity is overrated anyway. The trees form a canopy overhead, preventing too much sunlight from hitting me.
I saw families hiking. I saw couples, and groups of friends with their dogs. I saw one guy jogging.
As I said, this is a relatively easy hike and doesn’t take much planning. All I brought with me was my backpack with two water bottles and granola bars.
Once I got to the top of the cliff, I took pictures of the view. Lots of pictures. Turns out I was glad that I did the hike.
No, I didn’t gain a whole new perspective on life (it’s just a hike). And I’m probably not going to try more difficult trails (unless my editor makes me). But I did get to see the hills and the farmland below, and I could imagine bringing my parents up here when they visit the next time.
Hikers Alex and Holly Ellram (husband and wife and who teach at SUNY Cobleskill) showed me the wild blueberries growing along the trail. The peregrine falcon that lives on the cliff screamed through the air.
One caution: Heading down the steeper side isn’t something to take lightly, and if you have young kids, I’d recommend you go down the less-steep side instead.
The best part of the hike is being at the top and getting to see the farmland, roads, and even the cars buzzing along like toys.
After I was done taking pictures, for a brief moment, I did feel alone. Seeing those hills and farms reminded me of how far I was from New Jersey. I miss my friends. I miss my family.
But the image of my mom, her hands clasped and thanking the sun, grew like a light in my mind, helping me see clearer. And while coming down the steep side, I stepped in mud, and I laughed.
Have a favorite summer activity? Let us know about it. Share your ideas for Summer Days at www.dailygazette.com/summerdays or firstname.lastname@example.org.