>If you are ever looking for a place to escape from the urban environment of Manhattan, but have no interest in leaving the island, the north end of Central Park is woodsy and quiet. If you really want to get away without going anywhere, you must head to Inwood Hill Park. This is where I found myself on Friday morning.

Someone from my book club told me that there is a rock in Inwood Hill Park that marks the spot where Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the (a?) Native American tribe occupying it in 1628. Since I had no idea where this was, I thought it would be wise to head to the nature center/visitor center first. The Urban Park Ranger on duty (ha! I said doody!) gave me a map and told me which trails made for good sightseeing, but no poison ivy. Yes, I said trails and poison ivy.

All went well at first. The rock was easy to find (and also marks the spot of what used to be the oldest, biggest tree in NYC - a tulip tree that grew to 160 feet high with a circumference of 20 feet and lived about 280 years before it died in the 1930s). As I set off on the trail, I marveled at the beautiful woods that seemed like they might be easy to get lost in, although the ranger assured me that all roads eventually lead out of the park since it is not that big. I also reflected on the various little personal problems I've been having lately.

Before I knew it, I was lost. Or sort of lost, but how could I use my cell phone to call for help if I was really lost? What would I say, "Hi! I'm lost in Inwood HIll Park by some trees and rocks?" What if I wandered around in circles until it got dark and then coyotes (who I am certain do not live in the park) ate me? In the back of my mind, I was pretty sure that homeless people were found living in the woods, and worse, a few years ago a woman was murdered there.

After panicking for a minute, I decided that I would just retrace my steps and eventually I'd find the haven of the urban jungle. I also committed to return to the park with another person next time. It's funny how I don't think twice about venturing out into all sorts of places in the City, but I freak out completely when I'm turned around a bit in a 196 acre park and/or when little things in my life don't go as planned. I just like concrete and maps, I guess.

Comment