Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Do You See on a Long, Long Walk?

Over the weekend, I followed a train of thought that is surprisingly normal for me:
1. Hey, look, I've got nothing on my calendar on Tuesday or Wednesday!
2. That means that if I take Tuesday as a day off, I can do all the work Wednesday, and all should be well!
3. The weather on Tuesday is going to be gorgeous.
4. I'd really, really like to see the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, but I'll be out of time for the Sakura Matsuri (which is this weekend).
5. I should go to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden on Tuesday!
(and now the leap of logic)
6. ...I've really wanted to find the time for a long walk.
7. I should walk to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. It's "only" about 15 miles from my apartment.
8.'s actually almost 19 miles from my apartment. Hey, that's manageable!'s the morning, and I'm just getting done a few odds and ends before I start my walk. Here's the plan.

It's 19.2 miles, and takes me over the Broadway Bridge in to Manhattan, then all the way down Broadway to Union Square, south down to City Hall, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and finally down Flatbush until I get to the Garden. The beautiful thing about this root is that if I get tired at any point, it'll be the easiest thing in the world to abort and get on the train; the 2, 3 and 4 all go to BBG, and I'll be following the root for the 2/3 early in the walk (starting at about the 6 mile mark) and the 4 root starting at about the 10 mile point.

I've done a walk like this once before, 3 and a half years ago - that day, I just set out to walk as far as I could, and ended up going about 20 miles - with lots of pictures - but I'll make that a post for another day. ;)

Anyway...that's the plan! Enough description, I need to get moving! :)

...I would say that the fact that I think this plan was in anyway a good idea and a reasonable way to spend my day off is probably why I'm exhausted and busy all the time. :)

So! It's been about a week and a half since I first wrote the above. First I did the walk, then I wanted to wait to finish this post until I'd labeled all the pictures on Flickr, then I got busy, but today I finally finished the labeling, and here goes.

First, to end the suspense, I ended up walking 29 miles last Tuesday. I still kinda can't believe it. What amazed me most was that I could have continued, and the next day I was only a little stiff; by Thursday I was good to go again, and did a four mile walk with my dad without a twinge. I guess I didn't really realize just how in shape I am. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.

So, what DOES one see on a 29 mile walk? Lets find out...

I saw these a lot:

It takes a lot of fuel to make it that far!

When I started out, it was cold and really foggy.

It cleared up soon, though! The trip was very, very long and took me past all three other places I've lived previously in New York City. I grew up on 86th Street.

I went by a whole lot of major tourists sights, too, like Times Square!

And Union Square!

And China Town!

I crossed the Manhattan Bridge on the way out, which gave me awesome views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Financial District.

I'd gone about 19 miles when I arrived at the garden. It turned out that it was a free admission day, and the weather was gorgeous, so it was mobbed with people!

The Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom.

I also wandered through the conservatory, where they had an awesome room dedicated to Bonsai!

A lot of gorgeous spring flowers were in bloom.

And the sun was shining down through the spring leaves which finally seemed to sprout, over night, now that the weather was improving.

There were flowers pretty much everywhere I looked!

So then came the question: what next? I had promised myself that if I could muster the energy to walk back to Little Italy, I could get a canoli, but I wasn't about to risk hurting myself. I took a break, pondered my physical condition, and ended up deciding to go for it. On the way, I passed through Grand Army Plaza, which I'd always wanted to go through (as it is a huge Civil War monument)

And I walked back across the Brooklyn Bridge!

With fantastic late afternoon views of the Bay.

I got a cream puff, too! La Bella Ferrara is one of the best Italian pastry places in the city, and I wasn't going to miss out!

I once again took stock of my physical condition, and realized that I still felt decent, and this might be one of my only chances in life to see just how far I could go. So I had a chat with my mom, and we decided that to make absolutely sure that I hit a minimum of 26 miles (walked a marathon) I would see if I could get all the way up to Columbus Circle, at 60th and Broadway. which point, I decided that my feet hurt enough that it was time to go home. I hopped on the train, and an hour later made my way up the hill to my pup, waiting to be walked. It wasn't until I got in that I discovered that far from almost missing the 26 mile mark, I'd hit 29 miles! The full set of pictures is here. The sunburn is just peeling now. (which is no fair, since I put on sunscreen, dammit). :) Anyway, I had a ball - I think there are more ridiculously long walks in my future, if I can only find the time.

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