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Hiking through that forest, I trekked to the banks of the Hudson River. From there, I could see the lush cliffs of the Palisades across the other side in New Jersey, a green shelf where the continental US begins. Road noise from the Henry Hudson Parkway made it too overwhelming to set up camp there, and closer toward the park entrance, the lights from Seaman Avenue shone too brightly. But in the heart of the park, the lights and noise diffused, and I found a fallen tree with rings three to four feet in diameter.

The probability of encountering animals or anyone other than rangers on patrol — who, along with the police, tend to keep a close watch over the park after dark — seemed more minute than ever. And while it was a city park in Manhattan, the natural forest offered a surprising amount of calm and isolation.

In truth, I was probably not too far off the delivery range of restaurants on Dyckman Street or Broadway, which was not necessarily a bad thing. In the middle of the night, when I unexpectedly ran out of water, I did what any sensible New Yorker would do. I left the wild and strolled to the corner bodega for more.

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