by Ernest Barteldes
Renata and I were both bitten by the hiking bug after our experiences in Zakopane, Poland that I described during my recent travel blog a few months ago, and we promised ourselves to find some other opportunities close to home.
I knew that there were several trails on Staten Island, but I had never checked them out before. We made a mental promise to explore at least one of them once the summer heat was over – there is way too much going on during those months, ranging from concerts and beach trips, and then who wants to go for a long walk when it’s sweltering outside?
As the weather changed, we started making plans to explore at least one of the trails. In late October, we joined some friends for the Farm Fresh Weekend in Duchess County and things started rolling from there. I did some research and discovered that there were several different trails right here on Staten Island ranging from moderate to difficult – the latter being a 17-mile stretch to the top of Todt Hill.
We selected the shorter 4-mile “red” trail, which is basically a circular path that begins and ends at Historic Richmond Town. At around 11 AM Renata and a close friend took a 45-min bus ride to the southern part of Staten Island. The entrance of the trail is simply marked with red markings on rocks and trees. The first section leads to the parking lot of Latourette Golf Course, and there we find the entrance to the actual trail. The beginning is a bit hard as you have to walk up a short embankment. Once through that it we just followed the markings and signs found throughout the path.
As we walked we were able to see the changing colors of the season, and many other plants. There were other hikers there but for most of the time we had the path to ourselves. About halfway through we sat on a log and had a light lunch I’d packed earlier – cheese and turkey breast sandwiches, grapes and potato chips – and resumed our walk. The weather was perfect since it was already getting cool but not uncomfortable. Almost at the end of the trip we encountered some deer, and observed as they went about their business. We tried to get close enough for a decent picture (we only had our phones), but we didn’t want to scare them.
After we completed the circuit, we briefly walked around Historic Richmond Town and then took the bus back to St. George, where we stopped for a light dinner at 120 Bay Café. It was a very nice experience, and I hope to do it again soon – maybe in the spring.