For many hikers, myself included, nothing beats escaping home turf for a place where the peaks are loftier and the streams and beasts wilder. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Home turf is where our lives are – our families, jobs, and household chores. Just as well, then, that there are hikable places a short drive away. Around here, some are quite large, at least for the ’burbs. The Devil’s Den in Weston/Redding covers 1,746 acres; Ward Pound Ridge over in Westchester encompasses 4,315. There are countless small tracts too. But these little places, while great for a stroll and a glimpse of natural beauty, are often too hemmed in by civilization for a long, satisfying hike.
It had been a while since I had escaped for a long, satisfying hike (blame those home-turf tasks!) and, honestly, as my wife and I drove to Zofnass Family Preserve on a windy afternoon last week, I wasn’t counting on one now either. The Preserve, in Pound Ridge, NY, is also known as Westchester Wilderness Walk. Despite that alluring description, everyone knows that Westchester and wilderness don’t go together, especially when the wilds in question are less than a fifth the size of Central Park. So, this afternoon, I was hoping only for a decent walk, and for the wind to blow away my cobwebs.