Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Grand Ramble on President's Day

Deep in the heart of BROOKLYN!
 Note: If you don't have time to read, scroll down, there are more pictures are at the end! 

 So yesterday's chowderhound pictures were taken during one of my best rambles yet. I do still mean to do a post about how all of this "urban hiking" I've been doing is part of a Non-New-Year's Ir-resolution (short version: because the only New Year's resolution I ever kept was the one about never making another New Year's resolution again!) and why I made such a big deal about 100 miles being a NON-goal - but tonight I just want to share some pictures of yesterday's walk. This one was a little more planned out than most have been - I had a 3-day weekend to play with, with a 1:00 pm sea kayak committee meeting pretty much wiping out Sunday (good timing, with temperatures below freezing and winds that sounded like they were going to rip the roof off the club that was the one day of the weekend I really didn't want to be outside, I've toughened myself up because I think I'd go nuts if I stayed inside ALL winter but you know, there are LIMITS for this transplant from the tropics, and Sunday was way beyond those) and TQ unfortunately working on Saturday and Monday. Of those 2 days, Saturday was clearly the one to scratch the kayak itch, which I did (yay); Monday was looking like another excellent day for a long, long walk with Bella as long as I layered up for wind and cold. The interesting thing about walking with Bella as opposed to walking solo is that I lose the option to stop in a coffeeshop or jump on a bus if I get too cold, so I really did gear up pretty much exactly as though I were heading off for a hike in the woods - hiking boots, windbreaker over fleece and windpants over jeans, water for both of us, plus a good breakfast for me (kinda Hawaiian-style - ramen noodles with spam and an egg! :D) and a small extra helping of food for her (she gets breakfast early, before TQ leaves for work, I figured she'd need something to walk on too).

We set out from Midwood a little after 10:30 and the great part was that we didn't have any particular time we needed to be back.

I'd actually been looking at the map of Brooklyn the day before, trying to decide where to go, another bit of pre-planning I hadn't bothered with in any of my previous urban hikes. With a whole day to play with, I did think about heading someplace I hadn't actually been before. Coney Island Creek by land, instead of by sea? Gravesend Bay? Maybe that nice promenade that runs past "Bailout Beach" (a little pocket beach just south of the Verranzano Narrows Bridge that's a nice break spot on a good paddle and also one of the only places to get off the water along that stretch of the Brooklyn shoreline when a paddle in that area turns not-so-good)? In the end, though, I decided to head back towards Gerritsen Creek, which I'd almost gotten to a couple weeks ago on another weekend walk with Bella - TQ was working that day too, but I ended up cutting that walk short because he was supposed to get home by four or so and I'd realized that conditions were actually favorable to maybe snagging a pie at DiFara's without waiting for two hours! This time it was a little bit warmer, we didn't have any plans for the evening, and I didn't come up with any good surprises (I have to say the pizza surprise was a good one and well worth turning back a bit before Gerritsen Creek), and Gerritsen Creek is a really nice place to take a dog, so in the end we went with that, and it was great, and the wind chill factor didn't seem to be quite as biting as I'd expected, so we added in a loop through Sheepshead Bay, with the stop to "share" some chowder I couldn't resist posting the minute I got home. Here are a few more favorite pictures from the day -

Graffiti only a grinch could hate at the Midwood High Athletic Field. OK, probably principal-sanctioned, but  it's nice, right? 
Marina near the north end of Plum Beach Channel We stopped here for our first water break. It's funny,  this is an arm of Gerritsen Creek; I've paddled past this a dozen times or more but somehow never thought of turning in to explore. Of course in the summertime it's full of jetskis and motorboats, but so is the rest of the area.

One less-pretty picture - Gerritsen Beach got absolutely hammered by Hurricane Sandy. Mostly  the  residents have done an amazing job of cleaning up but there's still evidence here and there. 

Gerritsen Creek, with the towers of downtown Manhattan in the distance (tallest one is the new WTC 1)
Icy reeds
Lovely little bungalow court in Sheepshead Bay. Glad to see it looking ok after Sandy. I love these little courts - I think some of them have gone done to be replace by big glitzy condos with Miami-esque wave-styled rooflines and such, but if I had enough money to have a little place on the water and not have to worry about a storm taking it, I think I'd rather take someplace like this.
Donna G, one of the Sheepshead Bay fishing fleet. I always find myself thinking it would be fun to go fishing on one of these boats when I walk through this area - haven't gotten around to it yet but there are a couple that are known as family-friendly (which I would hope to mean "women won't be made to feel like they're spoiling a boys' day out") and maybe one of these days I will get around to it. That, and paddling the Gowanus Canal with the Dredgers...good to have things to look forward to! 
Sheepshead Bay. The bay is named after a kind of fish, but if they ever wanted to rebrand it to appeal to the gentry  they could call it Duckhead Bay. Or Swanhaven. But I'd be sad if they did.
Randazzo's! Yay!

Back home in Midwood, just before sunset.
Rough estimate of the day's route. A fine urban hike!
More pictures from the day over on Flickr.

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