Sunday, July 13, 2014

Urban Nature Hike

I've been wanting to go wandering in the Erie Cut (aka Bergen Arches area) for years now, but my friend Kraiger keeps sternly ordering me not to go into this semi-wild area alone. You just don't know what's back there. But he's been too busy to go with me. What could be more important?

Last night, my neighbor Denise and I were out wandering around after going to the Polish festival, and we passed a hole in the fence that runs beneath the ramp from Exit 14C—the ramp that feeds the NJ Turnpike to the Holland Tunnel. This part of the fence has been there as long as I remember, but the part near the former home of the Jersey City giant cat is new.

"Let's go in," Denise said. "Two middle-aged women in sandals. We're terrifying to any muggers."

In we went, tripping over the gravel along the railroad tracks.

"Is that a rat or a groundhog?" Denise asked, pointing ahead at a mammal crossing the railroad tracks.

"It's not a rat," I answered. "Maybe a raccoon."

We stopped, then. The black tunnel up ahead was a bit too intimidating.

 We'll have to try again—with flashlights, Kraiger, and appropriate hiking shoes.

"From 1906-10, the Erie Railroad Company drove 5,000 feet through Palisades rock, from Palisade Avenue on the east, to Tonnele Avenue on the west, in order to bring passenger service to the Jersey City waterfront. The "Erie Cut," as much as 85-feet deep, was punctuated by the Bergen Arches, a series of concrete bridges that supported cross streets overhead. Today the site has returned to nature, with moss and vines covering the bridges and cliff face. It is a serene, pastoral world apart from the busy avenues that cross it."

1 comment:

Donald Lockey said...

I note that one of the tags is Swahili. At least one talented artist was at work there; may have formal training. Would recommend that your planned tour group be larger and more intimidating.