By Polina Solovyeva ’17
With the arduous trails of Hudson Highlands State Park on their minds, Midwood students rushed to the Grand Central Terminal on May 30 to join Mr. Michael Dowd on his semi-annual hiking trip.
For some students, it was their first time to be outside the confined, crowded city. Others, such as Adela Julevic, ’16, had already been on the hike and were returning. Even a Midwood graduate and her mother had returned because of their past positive experiences.
By 9:20 am, the small groups of excited students boarded the train and were engaged in animated conversations. As the train moved, skyscrapers were rapidly replaced with mountains and trees. They left the sweaty, urban jungle and plunged into the reviving suburbs north of New York City.
Once they arrived, they were hit with the fresh smell of dew and the beaming sun. It was a perfect day for a hike. Mr. Dowd led them through the quaint town of Cold Springs to the park. He warned them about ticks and made sure they rolled up their socks to help protect them against bug bites.
Then, they began their long journey up the mountain of Hudson Highlands State Park. They climbed up the steep trails, and after the first half hour, they were exhausted. However, Mr. Dowd’s words of encouragement revived their spirits, and they continued up the trail.
By noon, they had reached a clearing. It brought them out to an aerial view of the small town and clustered mountains. Below, sun rays bounced off the river.
Vy Nguyen, ’17, said, “The view from the clearing was captivating. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It gave me a new perspective and made me think.”
Many, like Nguyen, were left comparing the view to that of New York City.
However, this was only one of the several sightseeing stops Mr. Dowd had planned to show them. As they continued their journey, the students began to become more comfortable with the steep hills. The higher they went, the more land they saw. At some point, Mr. Dowd told them that if they climbed high enough, they would be able to see the tip of the Empire State Building. After hiking for another hour, many became tired from the heat and opted to rest under the cool protection of the trees.
The remaining students, however, were permitted to hike a bit higher to see a spectacular view. So the eight of them set out on the trail. Several minutes later they caught glimpses of an opening. They hurried up and were met with a sunny clearing.
Karen Lee ’16, said, “My favorite memory was our arrival to the top. We were able to see miles of land while sitting on the rock and enjoying each other’s company.”
It was a serene experience. Nothing but the slight breeze, nature, and their thoughts were present, until they were called down.
After their hike, they explored the town of Cold Springs. Antique shops, cafés, and boutiques were scattered throughout the narrow streets. As part of a tradition, some students bought “Mystery Bags” from an antique shop. They were stapled bags full of records, obscure books, and china sets.
By five in the afternoon, they all departed from Cold Springs back to New York City. Despite their bags weighing them down and sweat lacing the bridges of their noses, everyone was satisfied. Each person was left with new memories and acquaintances.
Colin Dowd, ‘16, said, “I’ve attended the hiking trips since freshman year. They’re a nice escape from the city.”