I decided the other day that I was going to do some mountain biking outside New York City today. Some other plans that were going to go along with that fell through and I had a lack of a riding partner, so I was thinking about bagging the trip and just going off-roading at one of the places in town, but then I decided that I wanted to go someplace bigger. So I did. I took Metro-North to Cortlandt, which is just below the northern border of Westchester County.
The area around Peekskill is low, rolling hills with deciduous forest. The Blue Mountain Reservation is no exception. The trails are mainly double track because there's no undergrowth limiting the width. The soil's very rocky, which might be part of it, or it could just be the thickness of the canopy above. There weren't many roots on the trail, but the number of rocks and death cookies was staggering, and I passed over and through more rock gardens on one section of trail than all of Wilder Ranch combined. While I decided not to session any of the fallen trees until I've taught myself a new trick to get over them, I did manage to climb a lot of rock gardens and do some pretty neat descents through them as well. I think that they were the biggest challenge offered by this park. Even though it's a holiday weekend (sort of) there weren't a lot of other people in the park and it was easy to get in deep enough not to hear traffic.
It was a great way to spend an afternoon. Trails long enough to charge on, and while the parks within the city offer a feeling of being out of the city, they still have broken glass and engines rusting out strewn around, but the Blue Mountain Reservation was nice and clean. Clean air, healthy plants, low density. I need to do this more often.