Before I get the "bitch wheeet" face, can I say Happy New Year to all of my followers! Thank you for being awesome human beings. I never imagined having so much positive feedback just from being myself. Even if you side eye the hell out of me tomorrow for my crazy comments, know that I seriously appreciate the love. With this being said, this black girl went on her first official hike for the New Year! I will not shut my mouth because I have to tell you guys all about it.
A few weeks ago, I was on Facebook and I saw that Mirna was in town. If you don't know who she is, then get your life together. Check out her blog Fat Girl Running. She's super inspiring and not as crazy as I am. She has been working so hard on her book but wanted to go for a hike. Personally, I never did an official hike before. The closest that I came to "hiking" would be participating in Spartan races. While it's beautiful exploring the terrain on the course, it's not every day that you're crawling under barb wire, jumping into mud pits or doing the Hercules Hoist. I wanted to experience the hype of truly being in tune with nature. In turn, I asked her to please let me know when she was down. We talked about it on and off and agreed that New Year's Day would be a spectacular way to bring in the New Year.
Fast forward to New Year's morning: About 5 hours of sleep, crust in my eyes loaded up like a bag of cocaine and a dancing headache, I was determined to make sure this day happen. Thankfully, I pulled out my clothing and most of the stuff needed for the hike into a backpack. I whipped up some of my classic pancakes from scratch for the family and jumped into the shower. Mirna and I were both a bit delayed so we gave ourselves a bit more time before getting on the road. My stomach was beat boxing with the devil, as it tends to do before I go for a run, so I went through my religious routine of exorcising my demons for sanity sake. As I always profess, I am terrified of being a poop meme, especially for races. Mirna hit me up, told me she was downstairs and shortly after, we went on the road.
It's crazy. I speak of Mirna as if we have been friends for years. Do y'all know this is the first time I actually met in person? It was so easy to instantly vibe with her. She's super approachable, laid back and is really passionate about LIFE. Bet y'all was expecting me to say running, huh?
Typically, when I link up with other runners, we start to have these long discussions about being on the course or different activities. I loved that this wasn't the case. Being able to vibe with someone on a multitide of subjects is always a winner for me. I didn't feel like I needed to find a safe conversation along the way or pause because we had an awkward moment. Perhaps we vibed more because we're both from New York City versus some of the out of towners who sometimes don't know how to take my very uncensored mouth when I feel free to talk about the TMI topics.
Driving took less than two hours to approach Anthony's Nose. Upon arrival, we saw a road block, which we had no idea why and decided to park not too far off from the trail. There was less than five cars outside and the weather was more than ideal initially. It took a lot to contain my excitement of trail hiking because it's hard to find people who are willing to do this with me and have the means to get there.
Simply because I don't like to sugar coat things with my audience, I'll be honest: Most of my friends of color told me the following responses when it came to hiking:
Okay, rant over.
According to the Hike on the Hudson site, Anthony's Nose is an intermediate level hike that's approximately 2.6 miles up and back. I found that the steep incline doesn't end until you reach the very top, which was awesome to me. Mirna and I took our time up, greeting random families as they passed and taking in the views. There was no rush to make it to the top of the rock, as we stopped a few times to take pictures and blurb with our followers on Instagram.
Going on a hike with someone can be liberating or pure torture, depending on the personality that you bring along. With the right person, it's incredible. Thankfully, I lucked out with Mirna, as she educated me on some of the lines on rocks that we saw on the trails. As a person who loves to learn a little bit about everything, it was refreshing to gain just a little bit more knowledge about nature. Walking with Mirna reminded me of my initial meeting with Bracha, my warrior Spartan buddy and longtime MySpace buddy from Georgia, who took me on a nature walk with me in Atlanta and educated me about trees and leaves. I can hear her quizzing me about Magnolia leaves right now.
About a mile in, we saw a slightly frozen lake that we camped at for a few minutes, taking pictures and vibing. Before reaching to the peak of Anthony's Nose, we took in the silence and serenity of being near the top. As a NYC girl, I have a serious appreciation for breathing in cleaner air. While the incline can play with your calves and quads, I couldn't help but notice how much easier I was able to take in the air. I imagined what meditation at sunrise would be like as we trailed along.
We made a right turn and reached the top. The view was beautiful. Mirna and I could see the Hudson Valley and on our right, could see the Bear Mountain Bridge. When you reach to the top of Anthony's Nose, there's nothing better to do than take an unapologetic selfie. We even managed to do a bit of sun salutations. Mirna's sun salutation was graceful, as mine was kinda tragic near the end. We laughed hard for about five minutes after my feet went on strike from downward dog. I love to laugh at myself because I am a self professed goof troop. As we snacked, we sat on the top, watching others making their way to the top and quickly realized that others had the same idea of ringing in the new year at Anthony's Nose. Guess these were the troopers who couldn't allow a hangover to keep them in bed.
Going down Anthony's Nose was fairly simple until three quarter down, where it may work on other muscles. It's very approachable but if you have funny moving feet like mine, you might want to slow down a bit. Thankfully, the rocks are pretty solid versus going to somewhere like Mountain Creek. We finally made it to the bottom and I realized that I didn't start my Strava app. Boo! Thankfully, I hit my FitBit.
The road block was gone when we were leaving and at least 2 dozens of cars were parked on the road. If I ever go hiking again at Anthony's Nose, I know that I will be coming out early. Could help but imagine what the sunset looked like on our journey back and now, i know that I have my heart set out to pursue the North Face Endurance Challenge in April at Bear Mountain from this trailing experience. Sure, I know Bear Mountain is not the same but having the hiking experience with Mirna shows me that I am more than capable of approaching these adventures.
On the way back to the city, we listened to NPR, chatting up about our families and life with children, husbands and all in between. I admired reading her journey online, as many of us have, but to really sit down and match the face to the journey was refreshing. Sometimes, when I meet some of my Instagram/Facebook followers, I hear this about myself but to get this same experience from someone that I admired for years now was nothing of beautiful.
We made it back to Brooklyn at a decent time while dodging a few crazy Westchester drivers. Mirna made it to the front of my home, where we talked for a little while longer about my very evolving neighborhood before she departed. Upon opening my door, my son greeted me and my husband gave me his typical shrug with questions about my day. Still filled with a bit of energy, I burned a bit off at the gym. Overall, hiking was great and I'm so glad that I didn't allow a few others' stereotypes and misconceptions deter me from this experience. Because I have a very impulsive and addictive personality, I already started looking into other trails within the New York and New Jersey area. If I'm lucky, I might find a few in Boston while traveling out there next week.
I hope that you brought in the New Year with much needed positivity and great experiences. What did you do for New Year's Day? What do you plan on accomplishing in 2017?
Latoya Shauntay Snell
For my pretentious ass bio, check out the about me page but for anyone interested in who I really am, make me a good meal at your house and I'll tell you a dope ass story.
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