A few weeks back, Yang and I had the pleasure of a stroll along the cliff walk in Nyack by the Hudson river. My friend and author Mya O’Malley had told me about this beautiful hike the day before when we went to see her at the West Nyack Free Library Book Fair. The walk runs along the bottom of these magnificent cliffs, just above the Hudson. Here’s a view of river and the trail as we started off. Even the area near where we started was really neat, check out the stone walls above.
While we strolled along, we were preceded by this charming fellow for the first 10 minutes of so. Does anyone know if this is a dragonfly or a damsel fly? Is this guy a particular breed of either? He was certainly a pleasant companion. Speaking of pleasant companions, there were plenty of people of all ages and backgrounds bicycling or walking (often with a dog or two), though not so many to make you feel crowded. Everyone had a friendly hello or smile or was happy to chat about the gorgeous day and the magnificent surroundings – such as the cliffs you saw if you turned to your left and looked straight up.
For much of the trail, woods rose up and obscured views of the striking rock wall, but frequently they cleared to show you these inspiring cliffs. Yang pointed out that you can also walk trails along the top of the cliffs – and walking along the river trail, you could see some trails leading upwards through the woods. I think a return in the fall, when autumn colors are blooming is clearly in order!
We didn’t see a much wildlife, but I was curious about these berries. They look a great deal like black caps, but they are much bigger and the pod left over after the fruit is gone is definitely larger and a different color from that of black caps. Anyone have any conjectures on identity?
Something else we saw that I found fascinating were curious rock formations. Now look at this one. Isn’t it much like a monstrous head? Note the circles of lichen that are shaped like and located where you’d expect to see eyes. Then there are the indentations between those circles, evoking the image of a nose. How can you miss the giant, horizontally elongated mouth with crooked teeth of rock?
Right here is one of the most interesting formations in the cliff. Can you pick out the skull in the upper part of the cliff, just to the right of center, with almost square indentations for eyes sockets and an upturned nose with the slash of tiny mouth beneath?
No? How about in this close up? Seems like an inspiration for a story of horror or fantasy, doesn’t it? Maybe more fantasy than horror, since the skull seems to be a bit on the cheery side – or is it delighted at the prospect of perpetrating hideous havoc?.
The towering cliffs certainly inspire an intimidating, eerie grandeur, don’t they? I wonder if they inspired Mya O’Malley when she wrote her supernatural mystery/romance Maggie? I could see them when I was reading her novel.
Still, the hike was not entirely eerie. As I said, we met and talked with many nice people – some of whom suggested different roads we might take along the trail. This was my favorite sight on the trail, the handsome guy who accompanied me!