Foiled at Fantastic Fall Foliage

October 28, 2023
10.95 miles
Storm King Mountain, NY

Now that I’m a Real Working Adult with Real Adult Responsibilities, I’ve found that I sadly don’t have that much time to ride. Gone are the college days when I could just wake up one morning, decide to skip class that day, and go for a long ride. Honestly, between work on weekdays, church on Sundays, and the million other things I want to do on Saturdays, I only managed to squeeze in a single bike ride in the first two months of living here. I now usually tell people that cycling “used to be” one of my hobbies back in college.

Honestly, the cycling around New York City is also just not that good. One can only ride the same loop around Central Park so many times before getting bored, after all. One of the few claims to fame that the region has when it comes to outdoor activities is the annual fall foliage. Of course, I had to find a way to squeeze in a ride, even a brief one, before the end of leaf peeping season.

I loaded up the bike in the car the same way I’d done so many times before and drove about an hour and a half upstate to Storm King Mountain in the Hudson Highlands to do a (hopefully) scenic ride. While driving there, I passed by a really scenic lookout and just had to stop for pictures. It was a bit past peak foliage, but it was still quite beautiful: a lake nestled amidst yellow woods. (You’ll have to take my word for it, since the pictures don’t really do it justice…)

I got to the parking lot a bit later than ideal, mostly because I woke up rather late. When I started the ride, I was almost immediately confronted with a bit of a surprise: I had planned to do the ride on a scenic highway that passes through a local park, but when I got there, I found out that the highway was closed due to a rock slide! I stood there for a few minutes, unsure if I should proceed. In the end, I decided to go for it, reasoning that it wouldn’t be too bad on bike. As the kids these days say, I “sent it.”

Road closure in fall
I decided to go for it (Click on any image to view at full resolution.)

The sad thing was that the road turned out to be passable for only a few miles until the rock slide, so this ended up being an extremely short ride. But on the bright side, there was (obviously) no motor traffic, so I had the entire road to myself, barring the occasional hiker. Having such an absolutely stunning stretch of road all to myself was such a pleasure, even if it was only for a few miles. I made sure to stop for lots of pictures.

At last I arrived at the rockslide, beyond which the road was impassable even by bike. I snapped some pictures and rode back, stopping for even more pictures on the way back. There was a pretty forest on the opposite bank of the river; I like to imagine that this is what Lothlórien looked like…

Anyway, this wasn’t a particularly eventful ride, but it was quite scenic. On the way back, when I had almost gotten to my car, I passed by the local fire department in the small town of Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY. Some people were setting up a large outdoor projector, and a sign said “movie night tonight,” with some old-timey music playing. I don’t know why, but I found the scene particularly charming. About two hours later (owing to some bad traffic), I was back in New York City, perhaps the polar opposite place on Earth.