NJ Hiking: Connect

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Long Island, NY: Hither Woods and Hither Hills - 3/18/12

This hike is kind of far away, 2 1/2 hours out to almost the eastern tip of Long Island from the Goethals Bridge.  But I feel it is worth mentioning since it such a unique hike and there is very little information online about it.  It most definitely warrants a long day trip but only in March or April or in the fall/winter when the summer beach traffic is not an issue - when that happens you'll sit in traffic all day just to get there.  I left at 6:30 am, arrived at 9 am, hiked 12.6 miles and was back home at 7:30 pm.  It is surprisingly hilly in some areas, not as flat as you would expect, but more like rolling hills complete with switchbacks.  You literally feel like you are stepping into different worlds on this hike, from oak forests, pitch pines, stunted oaks, mountain laurel tunnels, a pond, bays, sandy beaches, rocky beaches, bluffs, canyons and in the middle of all of that, crossing live LIRR tracks twice!  Yes, they go right through the woods.  You never hike along the beach but can access it via side trails.  The hiking trail meanders along the top of the bluffs which makes for spectacular views.  Most of the hike is on the Paumanok Path, a 110 mile trail which is Long Island's version of the Appalachian Trail.  The map is copyrighted so I can't scan it and put it online but I brought a few copies of the black and white paper map back with me if anybody would like one.  (Friend me and message me your mailing address.) The nice large color map can be purchased through the mail from the East Hampton Preservation Society.  All of the details and more pictures of the hike are HERE.

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