Getting outdoors in the Big Apple


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Getting outdoors in the Big Apple
Question: I just recently moved back to the New York City metropolitan area and am wondering if there are any groups, organizations, or clubs that coordinate hikes, camping, biking, or other outdoorsy activities. Thanks.

Linda Wolf
Hoboken, NJ

Adventure Adviser: Granted, Manhattan isn’t exactly an outdoor mecca (unless you count the 6.2-mile circuit road-cum-autobahn in Central Park) which is why signing on with one of several area outing clubs is a good way to get your wilderness fix on a regular basis. The good news is that there are about 1,200 miles of hiking trails within a
two-hour drive of Gotham and a slew of local clubs to choose from. All you need to do for access to their full-day and multiday trips is fork over an annual membership fee.

For hiking, try the New York/North Jersey chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club. In addition to guided group hikes, they offer hawk-watching, rock climbing, and wilderness first aid workshops out of their Mohican Outdoor Center in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area near Blairstown, New Jersey. Most scheduled hikes run from mid-spring through late October,
but they also run a handful of two-day cross-country skiing, winter hiking, and snowshoeing courses throughout the winter. For overnight courses, you’ll bed down in the center’s rustic bunkroom. In addition to trips in the immediate tri-state area, you’ll also get to choose from a handful of more exotic locales, such as six days of spring cross-country skiing in Royal Gorge,
California (about $1,300 per person) and a two-week hiking trip through Ireland (about $2,400). For a list of upcoming workshops and membership information ($40 per year), call the Mohican caretaker at 908-362-5670 or the club headquarters at 212-986-1430.

For a taste of New England trekking, try the Connecticut Green Mountain Club, caretaker of 12 miles of the 265-mile Long Trail that extends from the Massachusetts border and through Vermont to the Canadian border. Club activities include maintenance on this section of trail, plus the three overnight shelters in the 12-mile stretch, day hikes along central Connecticut’s Blue
Trail system, and weekend outings on the Long Trail. Individual membership costs $21 per year. For more details, write to Allen Freeman, Connecticut Green Mountain Club Secretary, 17 Vale Avenue, Meriden, CT 06451.

Closer to home, there’s always the all-inclusive Hoboken Ski Club, a 400-member year-round organization that schedules weekend ski trips to Vermont, as well as off-slope outings like mountain biking, in-line skating, hiking, and rafting. Annual membership dues are $20 per person. Call their hotline at 201-659-1111 for more details, or just stop in at one of their weekly
meetings (Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m. at TJ’s Trout on 14th Street).

Other ideas: the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club (718-370-2096) for hiking and river paddling, among other activities; Mawah-based Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey (201-284-0404); and Metropolitan Canoe & Kayak Club (P.O. Box 021868, Brooklyn, NY 11202). Finally, for general information about hiking in the tri-state area, call the New York-New Jersey Trails
Conference at 212-685-9699.

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