So, our plan was to make the 11:45 am bus from Bear Mountain to New York. And we were still 9.7 miles away. We figured if we left before 8 am we could be there. Waking up was the easy part as we dismantled our tent and had quick breakfast. Our first mountain was Black Mountain. The night prior we were going to camp up here to see the NYC skyline, but that never happened though. It was a short steep climb and once reaching the top we saw in the hazy distance the towering skyscrapers of New York. No time to dawdle as we had a time hack to make. bounding down the other side we went back up another hill with views of the Hudson River below and the rolling hills of New York. From the distance we also saw the Bear Mountain and the Observation Tower. It looked to be about 3 miles away.
about 2.5 miles later we were on a ledge with a view and noticed the time. It was almost 10 am… We kind of lost track of the time thinking we had less miles to go. QUICK! This is when we started running on the trail. Luckily, it was pretty flat as we came toward the observation tower. It was busy with weekend tourists and the road was busy as cars came and went. We would have liked to stay longer but we had a bus to catch. We jogged through the area capturing a few photos and passing a couple of nice looking Lamborghini’s parked along the road! Definitely some rich people were up here today. No time to lose though as we followed the Perkins Memorial Drive road for a little while before cutting back onto a well groomed walking path that led down to the Bear Mountain Inn. The fun began here.
With a whoop and holler we started sprinting down the path, it was about 1.3 miles down. It was a literal sprint, as fast as we could go with our packs. Jumping from one gravel section to another we ran past the puzzled people all the while yelling and having a good time of it. Maybe this wasn’t so good for out knees but we were flying down the mountain and in our haste we took a blue blaze trail down to the inn instead of following the AT which went a little bit further. We would have to do this part when we came back from NYC. We made good time though, it was 10:30am and had time to take a quick Katadyn rinse and change our clothes before we caught the bus.
Bear Mountain Inn and the surrounding picnic grounds were packed! There must have been 1,000 people here! Almost everyone was grilling or making some sort of food by the water. Music was playing and kids were screaming. We definitely didn’t expect all the crowds as we wandered through the throng of tourists enjoying the day. We found a nearby bathroom and filled up the water filter to dump it on ourselves and wash ourselves. After a quick rinse and a change of somewhat fresh clothes we ready to catch our bus. For anyone reading, for future reference the bus from Bear Mountain Inn to NYC is $14.50 one way and drops everyone off at the Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan . The Coach Bus USA stops right at the main entrance to the Inn and the times are 8:19 am, 11:49 am, and 2:45 am daily. It was extremely easy as we hopped on and paid our fare, the bus was also empty which was an added bonus!
Leaving the winding hills of Bear Mountain State Park, the scenery changed from forest and hills to the steady city traffic as we drew nearer to the city. We were quickly swallowed up in the New York traffic as our bus driver skillfully navigated through the madness. Minutes later we pulled up to the terminal and we departed with our packs. Down the escalator we went and out onto the busy streets of Manhattan. The bustling city noise was far cry from the quiet refuge of the mountains. We had managed to score a great deal on an Air BnB with an extremely cheap rate in the Soho district which was well within walking distance to everything we needed. But, it was a 3 mile walk from our current position.
With packs on, we walked the streets toward our bnb and took all the sites in. Busy people rushed by with their own agendas and tourists meandered on the sidewalks taking pictures and stopping to go into shops. It smelled dirty and sweaty as the sun heated up the pavement as we walked quickly through the crowds. Reaching the relative quiet of our street we made it to our apartment and climbed the 6 flight of stairs to our room. The place small, but very clean. We had a nice looking queen bed, a small common area with a full kitchen and a bathroom. The best part was how quiet it was. We heard no noise from the busy streets down below except for the quiet hum of the air conditioner which worked amazing. Unpacking our stuff and getting a cold glass of water we decided to get something to eat. There was a Dim Sum Chinese restaurant in China Town nearby which got good reviews so we booked it over there hoping to fill our bellies. Jing Fong as the place was called was a huge dining hall which was packed with people as servers pushed carts of food around the room. The way it worked was, we got a slip of paper and sat down. As a server came by with food carts we chose what we wanted and the server would stamp our paper. This continued as we ate our way through a few of the meat dumplings and various other small plates. We realized this might be an expensive lunch as we looked at our sheet of paper with several stamps on them. The dishes were also quite small so it wasn’t filling up our bellies as we really expected. Deciding to leave before we broke our wallet here we paid and left. The food was good but pretty expensive in the end and we were still hungry.
We explored more of China Town for a little while as we stopped in the local market to see what it had to offered. Everything was definitely imported had Chinese lettering on it. It was fun to browse around at the various foods and wonder what they were and how it would taste. On the level below we found the Chinese version of ramen noodles! These definitely looked good to us and we decided that before leaving NYC we would resupply from this Chinese market. We were quite tired as we headed back to our apartment but still manage to stop at CVS to pick up a quart of ice cream each – we were still hungry, remember? Relaxing in the apartment we enjoyed our ice cream and worked on updating the blog. We were quite behind and still are as I am only just writing this day now.
Later, for dinner we had a New York styled large pizza which turned out to be great!