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20 Mile Stretch: Hiking Greenbelt!

Feeling a bit adventurous, I decided that I wanted to spend my day off from work hiking. While this is nothing new as I am an avid hiker, I wanted to make it a real challenge. So, recruiting a friend, we gathered some maps and trail books and set off to hike 20 miles of the Greenbelt Trails in Long Island, New York.

We began our journey at Heckscher State Park. This trail, pictured above, was mostly forest. And, of course, I was covered in both deer and dog ticks by about 10 minutes in to the hike. While I make every effort possible to be tick free, I have basically come to the conclusion that with the amount of hiking on Long Island I do, it is inevitable that I will get Lymes Disease.

We hiked for about 6 miles until we realized that we had lost the trail. Luckily, my friend had a compass and a GPS and was able to navigate us through the town of Great River, passing golf courses and beautiful, perfectly manicured houses, to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum.

The Bayard Cutting Arboretum is gorgeous. Tons of trees, vibrant flowers, views of the Connetquot River, and lots of animals. We ended up hiking every trail possible, which can be seen on the map below.

We got to see a lot of different animals, more so than I have seen on any Long Island hike that I have done. Aside from the usual birds, swans, geese, ducks, squirrels, and chipmunks, my friend and I spotted a bunny, a snake, jellyfish, and even a turtle sitting in the middle of the woods. I was very excited about this, and my friend even commented, “Most girls would run if they had a snake near them but you’re running towards it”.

We attempted to walk through Connetquot State Park, however, Sunrise Highway, with it’s cement walls as dividers, kept us from being able to reach the entrance. I’m still saying we reached our final destination, however, as we technically made it to the park but just couldn’t cross the street to walk into it.

After re-tracing our steps backward and exploring some trails we had previously missed, we hiked a total of about 20 miles. While tiring, I felt very accomplished, and am excited to find and hike some of the longer trails Long Island has to offer.

Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

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