HikeLI: A Day of Folly on the Northshore

This post marks my first failed attempt at thru- hiking the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt trail. I didn’t plan the day well and it showed in the outcome. The portion of the Greenbelt trail that I did get to hike was remarkably well kept. I will be back Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt, I promise.

Where: Cold Spring Harbor State Park (Cold Spring Harbor) and beyond

What: Trail, unpaved

Snacks: Sweetie Pies, Cold Spring Harbor

There are plenty of people who say that there isn’t any ‘real’ hiking on Long Island. If you’re one of those people, I challenge you to put in some miles in at Cold Spring Harbor.

The goal was to take the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt trail, in a single day as a thru-hike. It didn’t pan out. Those that have completed it recommend parking at train stations. I got a late start and parked at the Cold Spring Harbor Library. That parking area closes and added a crunch time feel to the hike. This was mistake number one. My hiking companion and I intended to have someone pick us up in Massapequa but while we were on the trail we got word that, that fell through. We can call this mistake number two as it would have been better to have one of our cars at the Massapequa train station. We realized that we left most of the food and water in the car. This was mistake number three and a really unfortunate oversight.

The Cold Spring Harbor portion was hillier and far more crowded than anticipated. It was swarmed with people, which felt odd. I’d never been to Cold Spring Harbor and it is by far the most crowded I have ever experience a Long Island trail. We got to our third road crossing and there was a girl leaning into a tree, back to us, humming. Her presence really left us uneasy. This, coupled with the business of the road, coupled with lack of supplies and lack of ease getting a ride back caused us to turn around. It was like the Universe was telling, ‘not today.’ You ever get that feeling?

We’ll be back.

We decided to keep hiking and took a trip to West Hills Preserve to hike a bit of the Walt Whitman trail. We headed to West Hills County Park and were met with trail closures and fences erected in every direction we turned. It was unsettling. We turned back through the preserve and got very lost. Without maps on our phones, we may never have gotten out. The – not today – feeling felt strong.

It felt like a waste of a day although we put in about 12 miles. I want to go back and complete the Nassau-Suffolk. Perhaps when the days are longer. It was sobering to not finish something I set out to do but also, so many factors let to lack of completion.

Headed to Sweetie Pies in Cold Spring Harbor for Funfetti Scones and pumpkin spice.A weird day on the trails doesn’t mean snacks fall to the wayside. Although, it turns out that I don’t actually like pumpkin spice….

See you on the trails!



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