2019-05-25 - Long Island Greenbelt Trail Traverse
Peter and I co-led the Long Island Greenbelt Trail hike. Fourteen of us set up from the Kings Park train station and headed north to Sunken Meadow State Park where the trail began. We followed it through beautifully scenic areas of sand and soil with views of the ocean and Nissequogue River.
We passed through Nissequogue River State Park, Arthur Kunz Coundt Park, and the Smithtown Landing Golf Course with bits of suburbia mixed in. There was even a nice vending machine with drinks which were a real treat along with fresh fruit from Nakis. The occasional beautiful house or kayak were also nice to behold.
After Sweetbriar Park, we reached where Peter had stashed some water for us. Grateful, we continued past the Statue of Whisper the Bull in Smithtown and Caleb Smith State Park to the gorgeous views of the waters of New Millpond in Blydenburgh County Park.
After stopping for a group photo we climbed up to the headquarters of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference before continuing on our way. We passed through Forestwood Park to our lunch stop in the Village of the Branch. A few people left here for the nearby train station at Smithtown. After Hidden Pond Park, several more people ended their walk to head to the Ronkonkoma train station 2.7 miles away. Our greatly diminished group then walked through Islip Greenbelt County Preserve, Lakeland County Park, Connetquot River State Park Preserve, and Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park. There was a great indoor bathroom and vending machine spot at the Connetquot River State Park Preserve.
Near the Great River train station, the rest of the group left leaving only me to finish the traverse. As the sun slowly set in the horizon, I ran some of the way towards the finish at Heckscher State Park. I tripped once and scratched up my hands and got lost once in Heckscher State Park. I finally reached the eastern beach after sunset. The freezing ocean breeze made my struggle along sandy shores all the harder. When the end came in sight, I sprinted to the well-earned imaginary finish line. What an epic day. Luckily, my family picked me up here and we drove home together.
Overall, I completed about 35 miles and 1700 feet elevation gain in a total of 11.5 hours including breaks.