23rd Day in Rockaway: Fort Tilden + Backpacking Part II
For the next part of my backpacking training I decided to go explore Fort Tilden, an abandoned area previously used by the US military until the 80s. Now Fort Tilden is part of Gateway National Recreation Area and offers a few trails surrounded by overgrown landscape, or according to the National Parks Service "a reclaimed natural area."
Though there wasn't a ton of hiking in Fort Tilden, the foliage and quietness (especially compared with the currently over crowded beaches) was an awesome way to "get away." I walked into the park from the east end finding mostly empty trails made of a mix of sand, gravel and dirt.
I first passed Battery Harris West before arriving at Battery Harris East, the home of the wooden stairs. As I mentioned in Backpacking Part I, I am about to embark on a trekking trip in Sweden and was looking for some stairs to do laps on to train for the trip.
The stairs at Fort Tilden were perfect. Hardly anyone else was there and they were a little crooked making this a balance challenge as well. As it's a reclaimed natural area, there were many opportunities to see wildlife (mainly birds).
At the top of the stairs was a simple wooden platform that offered incredible views of both the ocean to one side (header photo) and the bay with the NYC skyline to the other: