Torrey Memorial Hike Up Long Mountain, Harriman SP, Oct. 28

Raymond H. Torrey died in 1938, and each year trail enthusiasts, though a dwindling number of them, take the short hike up Long Mountain in Harriman State Parkwhere a memorial to this early 20th-century trail and park advocate is carved into the granite. A member of almost every hiking and trails group that existed in the NY Metro area–and a co-founder of several, including the Trail Conference–Torrey was also a newspaper columnist, for 20 years writing a column, “The Long Brown Trail,” for the New York Evening Post. As Glenn Scherer writes in a history of the NY-NJ Trail Conference (Vistas & Vision, 1995), Torrey “was the driving force behind all metropolitan trail building, clearing, and maintaining from 1920 to 1938.”

Torrey’s column, Scherer records, was a “blessing” to hikers. I love this nugget from Scherer: “Who could imagine a major New York daily today sporting a boldly emblazoned headline: ‘New Short-Cut Trail on Hogencamp Mountain is Highly Scenic and Bears Interesting Boreal Lichens’.”

A tweet, maybe.

For more than 30 years, the memorial hike was led by Torrey disciple Meyer Kukle. Various hiking groups would converge at the Long Mountain summit for a brief ceremony, lunch, and more hiking. Today, Meyer’s sons Peter and David led our group of six for what they counted as the 74th annual memorial. We spoke of rekindling a bigger event for next year’s 75th anniversary.

The Long Mountain summit offers spectacular 360 views of the surrounding forests and lakes. Well worth planning a visit–especially on October 27, 2013.

After the hike, we all headed home to await Hurricane Sandy.

Participants: Peter and David Kukle, Susan Winchell-Sweeney, Rob Sullivan, Fern Amster, and Bude. (the pooch–his name includes the “.”).

–Georgette Weir

About Trail Walker

Since 1920, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has partnered with parks to create, protect, and promote a network of more than 2,100 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. The Trail Conference organizes volunteer service projects that keep these trails open, safe, and enjoyable for the public. We publish maps and books that guide public use of these trails. The Trail Conference is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization with a membership of 10,000 individuals and 100 clubs with a combined membership of 100,000 active, outdoor-loving people.
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