Hiking book name: "50 Hikes in the Lower Hudson Valley, Second Edition (2008)" by Stella Green and H. Neil Zimmerman; The Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vt., $16
Rating: Written with the eye for detail of experienced trekkers, and the prose of experienced authors.
Maps: A general map numbers the location of each hike. Topographical maps with the trail defined by a bold black line are included for each hike. Parking and views are noted.
Features: The book contains six sections: Westchester County, The East Hudson Highlands, Rockland County and Harriman Park, The West Hudson Hills, The Shawangunks, and The North Country and the Catskills.
Background: Prime time hikin' season is, finally, right around the corner. We're all champing at the bit, but this can be a fickle time of year to be in the woods. Black flies are a-swarming, and the weather is more changeable and unpredictable than any time other time of year: warm and balmy one day, and bone-chilling the next; sometimes one minute to the next. So, we have to be patient, and, huddled inside staring out the window at a bleak, steady drizzle might be a good time to anticipate the coming season with a hiking book written specifically about the lower Hudson Valley. Authors Stella Green and H. Neil Zimmerman, "respectively past vice-president and past president of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, are well-known in the outdoors community" and "expert guides to this region rich in history, culture, and lore."
Book description: You'll love Hardie Truesdale's cover photo of Storm King Mountain, taken from Breakneck Ridge. Each hike includes black-and-white photographs. The book includes a super-handy "50 Hikes at a Glance" chart by hike name, with county, distance (miles), difficulty, rise (feet), time (hours), views, notes, etc. The Introduction includes history, weather, preparations, Lyme disease, behavior in the woods, geocaching, etc.
You'll learn new things about some old standbys: Breakneck Ridge, Storm King, the local Appalachian Trail, Bear Mountain/Harriman, the Catskills (Stormville Mountain is mentioned on page 96). One of my favorite stories in the book involves the never-ending conjecture concerning Anthony's Nose, rising prominently east of the Bear Mountain Bridge: Henry Hudson had an Italian cook on board named Anthony. When Henry spotted the mountain he exclaimed, "What's that?" A crewman replied, "Anthony knows."
You might become curious about some of these not-so-faraway places with strange sounding names: Hook Mountain, Kerson Nurian, Quick Lake, Vroman's Nose, Schodack Island, Junkyard Junction. I am!
Very interesting: Retired Gov. George Pataki protected a million acres of New York State, and, doubled the size of Fahnestock and Minnewaska. Bravo!
Ralph Ferrusi of Stormville writes Hike of the Week each Thursday in Players. Ferrusi has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail as a section hiker - twice! He maintains a section of the AT. For comments or to contribute a hike idea, call the Players Hot Line at 845-437-4848 or send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org