The wealth of outdoor adventures to be found within the borders of New York City always astounds me, from bouldering in Central Park to mountain biking in Highbridge Park to beach combing at Jamaica Bay. But nothing matches the autumn canoe trip that I took last week under sunny skies and luminous fall foliage on the Bronx River.
To dedicate the Thain Family Forest, a rare old-growth forest that has been given new pathways and environmentally educational signage, the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx held a festival with walks, poetry, music and more.
For me and my wife, the best part of the festival was a short canoe trip on the Bronx River run by the Bronx River Alliance. The Alliance has done great work to clean up the river and make it a setting for hikes, canoe trips, and communing with nature. Last Sunday, they brought canoes to the river and we had a great time paddling New York City's only true freshwater river. (The Hudson is a salt water estuary and the East River is a tidal strait.)
Afloat on the Bronx River, all we could see were forests, the shoreline and sun-dappled waters. The distant hum of traffic and stray soda cans occasionally reminded us of the city around us, but most of the trip was a great escape from concrete and traffic.
Thanks to the good work of the Bronx River Alliance, there are all sorts of ways to enjoy the river. We'll be back.
The festival continues for the weekend of November 12-13. If you want to paddle, get there early. On the day of our visit, there were lots of eager canoeists waiting to get out on the water.
Photo by Clara Hemphill.