New Canaan couple pens book on hiking
Carrying a GPS, dictaphone, several cameras and notepads, Christopher and Catherine Brooks completed their third book about hiking in a little under a year. Three to four months of that were spent hiking the 20 trails featured in "Easy Hikes Close to Home: New York City." Each trail in the book has been hiked more than once and all are located in the New York City area. "If you're just starting out," Christopher Brooks said. "It hits a lot of demographics."
This book, unlike the couple's previous book "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City," focuses entirely on hikes that are easy to complete, not only in terrain but also in time. All 20 trails are three hours and under. "These are things that can add a little something extra to your trip to New York," explained Christopher.
The book doesn't just feature maps of the trails, explained Christopher. There are little facts about the wildlife, unusual things and the history of the trail itself. The couple also "strives to present the material in a clear and conscientious way."
The book also contains the length, configuration, trail surface and a variety of other facts you will want to know about the trail before heading out.
Hikers looking for nearby trails listed in the book should try the Teatown Triple in Ossining, N.Y., or the Rockefeller Swan Lake Circuit in White Plains, N.Y., recommended the couple.
When it comes to favorites in the book, the couple disagrees. Catherine likes the hike featured on the cover, the Clay Pit Ponds Connector. However, Christopher likes "the ones that are a little more challenging," like Ramapo Lake Ramble or Norvin Green's High Point.
Two of the hikes nearby which the couple enjoys, which are not listed in "Easy Hikes Close to Home: New York City," are the Westchester Wilderness Walk and the Leon Levy Preserve, in Pound Ridge, N.Y. and Lewisboro, N.Y., respectively. Both are owned by the Westchester Land Trust.
Both Christopher and Catherine started hiking as children. Catherine began to hike in her native Belgium, collecting wild mushrooms in the autumn.
Christopher grew up in New Canaan where, he explained, "One of the traditions of childhood was hiking up in Pound Ridge."
There are many things the couple enjoys about hiking, including the wildlife and the scenery itself. But, as Christopher explained, they also enjoy the fact that hiking allows you to escape the structured and scheduled life for a little while. "You go out hiking, you leave all that behind."
For hikers just starting out, the couple has some tips to make your hiking experiences more enjoyable. You'll want to have a map and plenty of water for the hike. "Typically, if you stay on the trail, you're less likely to get ticks," Christopher said. Catherine wants hikers to remember that "animals are going to be more afraid of you than you of it," and that you'll want to have a good pair of boots with socks.
The Brooks enjoy hiking the same trail several times. "I think the surprise elements are part of what keeps us coming back to trails," Christopher said.