Up the Hudson

The area surrounding the Igor Sikorsky Memorial airport was a reminder of what used to be: shattered windows in abandoned hangers and faded signs for flight schools. The restaurant we had lunch at was still decorated from top to bottom with aviation memorabilia, despite the fact that only a couple of local patrons came in to sit at the bar and they certainly weren’t flying anywhere.

My college roommate Brie and I

My college roommate Brie and I

I was glad to be spending time with Brie, a friend from college who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.  She and her husband, Garrett had just bought a house in Fairfield, a few miles from the Bridgeport airport (where I landed). We whipped up summer sangria and sat on their newly-improved porch to reminisce about our college days, interrupting each other with the latest gossip.

Flying next to Lady Liberty

Flying next to Lady Liberty

I wasn’t lingering around Connecticut for very long before Volo Aviation hooked me up (again) with a flight to Delaware in a shimmering 1948 Globe Swift.

“How are you counting the states?” Robert asked and I explained that I have to leave the airport and go exploring for a state to “count.”

“My rule when I travel is that I haven’t been to a city until I have taken the public transportation system,” he said.

“That’s a great rule. You meet some characters that way,” I said, thinking back to a bus ride in Albuquerque that I wish I had filmed. From the guy with the cassette player boom box, to the woman passing out candy to every passenger, and everyone clapping and cheering when “the runner” chased the bus down in time, it was an interesting ride.

“Are you in a huge hurry or can we detour down the Hudson River?” Needless to say, we cruised around 1,500 feet with the top down right over the George Washington Bridge, next to the Statue of Liberty, and past the new Freedom Tower.

A few miles from the New Castle airport in Delaware was Lum’s Pond State Park, where I came across an unlikely find – a zip line course.  As it turns out, the phenomenon of cruising through the treetops, made popular in Costa Rica, is taking hold here in the United States only with a challenging twist: a swinging ropes course before each zip line ride. The newly-opened Go Ape Lum’s Pond is Delaware’s only course of its kind, however they have several other locations throughout the East Coast.

Treetop Course in Delaware

Treetop Course in Delaware

The majority of the course involved walking across a series of moving platforms situated between the trees several stories up, and I had to keep reminding myself that I was attached to a harness in order to venture to the other platform.

Back at the campsite, I met a mother and daughter duo who were visiting area colleges, and turned the stressful task of choosing a school into a camping adventure.  It was becoming my routine to stop by on the way into town until I noticed they were packing up their site early.

“There’s a big storm coming,” they said. I rushed back to my campsite with the insider information and began packing everything into my tent. I didn’t have all of my gear inside when the rain came gushing from the sky as thunder shook the ground. My tent was holding up until the wind changed and it began raining sideways. I knew it was going to be another long night.