It’s my goal this summer to see as many waterfalls as I can. Even though the dam at Croton Gorge Park isn’t actually a waterfall, it’s still impressive to see and is a short train ride from NYC on the Metro North train. I decided to go on Monday since we had the day off for Memorial Day. My office isn’t often closed for holidays (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s), so it was a nice surprise to have an unexpected extra day to myself. I decided to head to Croton Gorge Park because I was starting to get antsy with being in NYC. I don’t know if it’s that I love to constantly be on the go, or I just love not being in NYC, but I definitely wanted to do something other than just sit in the house. (Take that all you anti work from home-ers! 😆 ) Getting to Croton Gorge Park was pretty simple. An hour on the Metro North Hudson line train to Croton-Harmon, and then a 10 minute or so car ride from the train station to the park. I was going to take an Uber but it was almost 30 minutes away so I took a car service that was outside of the train station, with a really cool guy named George (in car 5, as he told me.) More on him later. The ride was only $10, not including tip, but just keep in mind that it was cash only. George was nice enough to stop at a nearby bank so that I could withdraw some cash. My first view of the dam as we drove in had me excited to get out and explore.
The second pic is of the opposite side of the dam. I saw people walking on the bridge over the dam and remembered reading that you had to climb a trail that was located right by a playground to get to that bridge. After walking around the bottom of the dam and around the lawn, where people were have picnics, barbecuing, and playing soccer and volleyball, I decided to make my way to the start of the trail and also to the bathroom. Well, the bathroom was out because something was wrong with all three of the toilets. There were port a potties, but um, helllll no. It wasn’t a pressing need so I just kept on going.
The trail seems to wind on and on, with no clear direction on where to go. You’ll see these little paths that are basically shortcuts, but they can be pretty steep, so unless you have some good walking shoes (I actually saw a few women in heels! 😯 ) and great balance, I wouldn’t do it. I had my sneakers, but the camera around my neck was throwing off my balance since I was holding it to keep it from bouncing against me as I walked, so I just stuck to the trails.
I was having a bit of a Robert Frost moment here but I have no idea which of these roads is less traveled by, since they both look pretty deserted. The river trail sounded interesting but I walked for a while and didn’t see a river. I went back and followed the aqueduct trail but it was more of the same. Every now and again I’d see people out walking some of the other trails, probably looking for how to get to the bridge, which is what I was doing once I came back from the aqueduct trail. As I was walking it occurred to me just how isolated it was out there. I didn’t mind that. Being surrounded by nature is one of the only times I can be completely relaxed.
It was interesting seeing trees that had been uprooted by previous storms.
Or trees like this with knotted branches. I’ve only seen things like this a few times but it’s really fascinating to me. I’d love to one day be able to own a place (it doesn’t have to be big) with some land to be able to walk through every day.
After I finally reached the top (it really isn’t that far, 20-30 minutes, if you don’t get lost or sidetracked) I was rewarded with this view. The bridge overlooking the dam doesn’t allow cars, so you can walk and stop and look at things to your hearts content, but you do have to watch out for bicyclists.
This is the the little bridge that you have to pass over to get into the park. This one does allow cars since it leads to the parking lot (which you can kind of see through the trees off to the left), so always be watchful.
I was able to get a better shot of the lower bridge, opposite side of the dam, and some of the rushing water, so I thought I’d include this picture in the post as well.
My one and only street photography style shot of the day. I wasn’t going to take her picture, but she was standing that way for close to a minute, so I figured she wasn’t looking and I liked the scene as a whole, so I took the shot. I think it came out pretty nice.
I was so short that I couldn’t really look as I was taking the pictures over the bridge. I just held the camera up as high as my neck strap would allow and hoped for the best. I honestly could have stayed all day and just looked at this sight.
Here are some of my tips if you decide to go here. First off, I highly recommend renting a car if you don’t own one or intend on driving it to the park for the simple reason that trying to get a cell phone signal here is damn near impossible. You can get it up on the bridge, but I was not able to get it anywhere else. I was intending to get an Uber, but with no signal that was out. I walked to the entrance of the lower part of the park (where cars are allowed) and tried to get an Uber. No luck. I walked all around the park for over an hour, hoping that I would get a signal. I saw some guys walking along the (very thin) shoulder of the road but no way was I doing that. That was just an accident waiting to happen. As it was around 6:00 I was getting really nervous. I was able to call my mom near the entrance to the park, but the call kept dropping, even if I didn’t move around, or sometimes she couldn’t hear me when I was talking. Thank God she was able to look up a car service and give me the number. I had to try and find a spot where I could call for a car since the spot where I was talking to my mom went dead.
The first time I called the car service, the woman couldn’t hear me. I called back and was able to tell her where I was and she said they’d send someone out. When the car pulled up, it was the same guy, George, who had dropped me off. We laughed about what a coincidence that was. I do have my license, but living in NYC and having a car seems a bit silly. Not so much because of all the public transportation because a lot of people hate taking public transportation, but because of the difficulty in finding street parking (especially since so many people insist on parking like dickheads and taking up more room than they need) and the high prices in garage parking. Added to all that is all the other expenses of owning a vehicle, so for right now, a car is just not in the budget. However, next time I go off to one of those “need a car to get around” type places, I’m renting a car. The sun starting to go down and the lack of cell phone signal really scared the shit out of me. Next time I’ll take the train or bus out of the city (because people drive like psychos here) and then rent a car. The weird thing is that I’ve never experienced a dead zone like that before. I have family a bit farther upstate in the mountains, or even my aunt’s and uncle’s house on the lake. I’ve had a weak cell phone signal and slow internet, but never a virtually dead signal and no internet service whatsoever. So if you intend to go here, keep that information in mind.