On May 7, 5 scouts and 4 adults took part in the 2011 Great Saunter.  This is a LONG trek that follows the shorelines all of the way around the hilly terrain of Manhattan with a group called the Shorewalkers who has been doing this for 30 years.  It may not sound like much, but this “walk in the parks” is over 31 miles long.

There is a lot to see and learn about New York City on this trip.  We learned what was used as landfill for old parts of the city that use to be swamps like Battery Park (Do you know?);  We saw where the trains boarded ferries across the Hudson in New Jersey to bring their goods to New York City;  We took pictures by the little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge, the Intrepid, and a memorial to the Irish Potato Famine.  Probably the most interesting part was when we stood at the site where Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the Indians (For less than the price of taxi ride from downtown to uptown).  A Tulip tree stood on that same spot in Inwood Park at the northern tip of Manhattan for 280 years and was the biggest tree in all of Manhattan.  All of these factoids were courtesy of our guide, Michael Ostrewa, who has been walking the streets of New York for over 50 years.

The scouts who completed their 20 mile hike requirements for the Hiking Merit Badge included James Tubridy, Martin Wilkins and Tommy Meade.  Mr. Tubridy, Mr. Chrystal and Mrs. Roeder also completed that part of the hike.  That group said goodbye to us (Chris Landy, Clark Gordon and Mr. Landy) somewhere around St. Nicholas Park in Harlem.  Our trio finished the 31 mile hike in just under 12 hours.  Truth be told, none of us could walk very far or fast on our tender feet after this “walk in the park” was completed.  I guess once a tenderfoot, always a tenderfoot 🙂  Smiles came back to our famished bodies when we sunk our teeth into the best cheeseburger ever made at The Heartland Brewery which awaited us at the finish line.  We had a great time and convinced ourselves that Philmont will be child’s play compared to the Great Saunter.