Posts Tagged With: Palisades

Foraging With Bobcat: Edible Plants


Robert “Bobcat” Saunders, center, points out a patch of lamb’s quarters, epazote and burdock along the foot of the Palisades in Alpine.

I’ve always wanted to learn more about identifying edible plants along the trail.

I can recognize blackberries and blueberries (both highbush and lowbush) in the wild, and hiking along the Long Path in the Palisades during the summer, I’ve snacked on quite a few wineberries. But what I know about foraging is far outstripped by what I don’t know.

So when I saw that the Palisades Interstate Park Commission would be hosting a talk by Robert “Bobcat” Saunders – who, let it be said, really knows his edible plants – one weekend at the Alpine Boat Basin, I decided to check it out.

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Categories: Ecology, Food and drinks, Health | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Auld Lang Signpost

IMG_5438Another year gone by already – well, that didn’t take long. And it’s apparently that time of year again to reflect on how 2015 was for hiking.

My hiking time this fall was a bit limited, especially due to a rather brain-draining graduate school project that I had to wrap up over the last few weeks. (It’s also the reason why the blog’s been a little quiet of late. So I beg your indulgence on that one, oh trail heads.)

All things considered, it was a pretty awesome year for outdoor pursuits.  I got to take on a short chunk of the Appalachian Trail back in June, during a National Trails Day gathering up at Bear Mountain. Took a first run out on some cool multi-use trails, including the Columbia Trail out in western New Jersey and the Pine Creek Rail Trail out in central Pennsylvania.

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Categories: Biking, Geocaching, Hiking, Other, Walking | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to (geo)cache in

IMG_8077The GPS unit said I was about there. So I tucked it back into my pocket and started looking around.

I was on the Long Path on the top of the Palisades, near a kind-of-hidden rock ledge overlooking the Hudson River. It was a late summer-early fall morning, still kind of warm, and decent weather for a hike.

On this particular morning, though, I wasn’t on a full-length hike. I was there on a geocache run.

I’d keyed in the cache’s coordinates, and the clue that I was given said to look for a boulder, with your back facing the river.


So I start scanning. There are some rocks that are certainly big enough to qualify as boulders, but none of them, as far as I can see, have any crevices or gaps big enough to stash a cache.


After a few minutes, I stepped out onto the ledge itself to get another look at the area.

Then I noticed that there’s a crevice in the rock at the back of the ledge, and… “hey, that piece of asphalt doesn’t look like it was here originally.”

I lay down, on my stomach, to get a better look and…bingo!

I used my hiking pole to pull the chunk of asphalt, and the cache container (a plastic box about six inches square) it was holding in place, toward me.

It had the usual contents – plastic jewelry, business cards, a Scout badge, a few coins, etc. I added a bookmark to the cache and poked it back into the crevice for another searcher to find.

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The falling leaves…

Close-up of a local maple tree with its leaves in full blazing scarlet.

Close-up of a local maple tree with its leaves in full blazing scarlet.

“The falling leaves…clog up my downspout…”

Okay, that’s not how the song goes.

It’s been said that you haven’t truly experienced fall until you’ve at least gone shuffling through a carpet of red and orange leaves on the ground. Or, for the kids among us, gone diving headlong into a big,  just-raked pile of leaves.

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Fall’s almost here already?

View of the Kaaterskill Clove, in the Catskill Mountains, NY, in October 2012. (Photo by Walt Roll.)

Yep, Sept. 1. Labor Day. Back to school for the kids tomorrow, and back to work for the grownups. For me, as a woman with a full-time job and part-time graduate school work, it’s both.

Spent my day doing a short hike/geocaching run on the West Essex Trail in the a.m., later followed by a stop for ice cream in the late afternoon. So not a bad way to spend a day off.

Amid all the school supply sales and the wisecracks about how you’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day (who came up with that rule, anyway?) there’s a lot of laments about how the summer seemed to go way too quickly. Including from the outdoors people – including me.

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A hiking bucket list?

I just thought I’d throw this question out there by way of a short post.

Do any of you have a “bucket list” of trails or parks you’d like to hike in at least once during your life?

I really don’t have a list put together at the moment, truth be told, but if I did have a formal list, it would include the Appalachian Trail, the West Highland Way in Scotland, and the entire Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon. (And one of these days, I do need to get around to taking on the Giant Stairs in the Palisades.)

What do you think? Do you keep a bucket list, or do you just prefer to take the trails as you find them?

Categories: Hiking, Other, Walking | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Reading the signs


Part of the enjoyment of hiking or nature walking is checking for signs of the local wildlife. If you look carefully – or sometimes, it will be fairly obvious – you can see signs of what animals have been in the area.

Usually the largest animals I spot while hiking here in New Jersey tend to be other humans. But in most of the parks and hiking areas around here, you’ll spot some deer, lots of birds, lots of squirrels and chipmunks, a few snakes, and maybe a fox or a black bear.

A couple of times, I’ve come out to my car in the morning to head off to work, and noticed some distinct, muddy footprints, about the size of a cat’s but with very different toes, on my car’s hood. The raccoons have been by again, I say to myself.

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