When the concrete jungle fever broke

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

After several days of nonstop work, dinners, nights out, booze, dancing and barely getting any shut-eye in the city that doesn't sleep, I desperately wanted out. I had a bad case of concrete jungle fever and would have given up my walk-in closet just to see something other than skyscrapers and neon lights.

Thankfully, I didn't have to take such drastic measures as my buddy Bob opened up an amazing escape hatchet and got me out of the city. We decided a hike would be a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon with the leaves just turning and the temperature pretty much perfect. The hike alone was good enough for me but come Sunday morning, Bob managed to make the plan even better.

"Do you wanna take the motorcycle or the car to the trail?" Bob called to ask.
"Now what kind of silly question is that?" I answered, "The motorcycle, of course!" 
"Ok, dress warm."

I went from excited to positively giddy in seconds. I hadn't been on a motorcycle since I checked that off my little list and was raring to have another go. A few hours later, there I was, clinging on for dear life as we hit 130mph on a quiet road. Underneath my helmet, there was a ridiculously huge smile on my face. It had been a while since I last had a massive adrenaline rush and boy, did I miss it. There you are, you nut job, I thought to myself. Good to have you back.

One minute we were zipping through curving country roads, consumed by the roar of that engine—and the next, it was just us and Mother Nature as we followed a trail near the border of New York and New Jersey. We walked through the woods, hopped over small streams, and clambered over exposed rock. I thought I was in good shape but damn, it felt like being on an unforgiving Stairmaster! But as with every hike, once you set your eyes on the prize, all that huffing and puffing becomes a vague memory.

We had to mark our achievement with a few artsy shots. Here Bob channels James Franco in 127 Hours ...

... while I channel some character from Lost in Translation who is, I guess, now lost in the woods.

Then we continued walking on the exposed rock until we reached what the locals call Surprise Lake. It's a fitting name because who wouldn't be surprised to find a lake on top of a mountain?

By the edge of the lake were some beautiful leaves that I couldn't resist snapping a photo of.

The foliage on the trail was pretty fascinating to me. I'd never seen these fluffy, carpet-like things which grew right on the rocks.

I was tickled pink when I spotted this mushroom, which looked like something right out of a Super Mario game!

After our hike, we rewarded ourselves with some beer, wursts and beef stroganoff at a German restaurant by the lake before riding back from whence we came. It was a day well spent.

I realized that for the last few months, I had gotten so caught up in the noise and frenzy of the city that I lost track of some little pieces of myself—the very pieces that make me a bit of an oddball but a lot happy. When the fever broke, I found myself a bit more whole and a lot more at peace.

Good to have you back, you nut job. 

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