The summer I turned 30, I went on a mountain biking trip through the Colorado Rockies. I wanted to do something special to mark two milestones: my big birthday, and my graduation from journalism school. We were a group of about 20 people, mostly in our 30s and 40s, and together we pedaled all day and hung out all evening — laughing, barbecuing and, as I recall, drinking excellent craft beer in the back-country huts where we slept each night. (I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the “glamping” that we all hear so much about now.)
I was in pretty good physical shape at that point, having trained for the trip in New York City. I was not prepared for how much the altitude would kick my butt those first few days — my legs were raring to go, but my lungs were not — but I eventually adjusted. Throughout the journey I was often filthy, exhausted, somewhat overwhelmed — and I loved every minute of it. Of course, one of the highlights was spending 24 hours a day in such stunning natural surroundings. I took lots of pictures and tried hard to find a way to sear those vistas into a permanent place in my mind. It was truly an ultimate outdoor adventure.
While this trip remains a personal highpoint, I am thrilled to now live in a place where people flock to have world-class outdoor adventures of their own. This month’s cover image of a rock climber hanging off a cliff in the ’Gunks may remind you that our famous Ulster County mountain range (it is the Shawangunks if you’re being formal) is considered one of the world’s premier rock climbing destinations. Our cover story, which begins here, fills you in on all sorts of one-of-a-kind outdoor activities. From mountain biking to hiking to hang-gliding to tubing the Esopus, there are dozens of ways to get into the great outdoors and create your own memorable adventure. The stunning scenery is just an extra bonus.
The zipline at Hunter Mountain is billed as the longest zipline in North America, so we sent Assistant Editor Rosemary O’Connor to see what it’s really all about. She fills us in on her experience here. Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor In Chief