Thunderstorms were creeping in as Roberta and I held a hurried conference on her building's stoop.
"Should we go? Should we try the hike?"
I called Michael Kraiger.
"How long do you think it will be before it rains?"
"How would I know? Let's go."
We went. We weren't going far, only to the Meadowlands. It's normally where you go for a concert or sporting event. Once, years ago, I took a
Reclamation of a 3.5 acre illegally filled "garbage island", incorporating wetland and upland habitats, educational facilities and other site amenities.
Hmm, okay. Scratch that. This nature is manmade too.
"Um, it's not really a hike, is it?" Roberta realized this almost immediately as we scooted along the plastic boardwalk above the marsh, each with one eye on the overcast sky.
Not really. It's an easy, flat mile-and-change walk. But as we walked through the reserve, looking at egrets and muskrats, we were within spitting distance of the New Jersey Turnpike and the Pulaski Skyway. Garbage island and the surrounding marsh—one section made of 400,000 plastic soda bottles—house migratory birds as planes fly in low overhead, aiming for Newark Airport.
We had just finished the Marsh Discovery Trail and part of the Transco Trail, when we came across the mile-long Saw Mill Creek Trail. The rain, threatening for so long, hadn't started yet. We got cocky.
"Let's try it."
We were about 50 meters into it, when the skies opened. We ran, laughing, for the car.