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Tuesday, May 29

To Do -- Hike Breakneck Ridge

Finding myself in NYC for the long weekend, I gathered a couple of my adventurous friends together for a one-day trip outside the city. After a bit of research, I decided upon hiking up Breakneck Ridge, which is easily accessible from Metro North.

Saturday morning I was up and about at 8AM. My newly purchased backpack was stocked with water, granola bars, apples, oranges and PB&J sandwiches for my friends (I prepared PB & Fluff for myself.)

The $20 round trip ride on Metro North was a breeze and offered stunning views of West Point Academy and the river. When we exited at the Breakneck Ridge stop (literally a single stop alongside the road, no parking lot, no platform) I had only a general idea of how to find the trail head. Since this was such a well-traveled path, I had relied on someone else leading the way. However, I soon found myself directing those who got off the train to the tunnel where the road (9D) cut through the mountain and our hike began.

The name of the trail is no joke. For the first 1200 feet, we scrambled over rocks at a 45 degree incline. It was the ultimate rock climbing experience (sans safety equipment), we would use our hands and feet to find small nooks and crannies where we could pull ourselves up and over the rock slide. We barley noticed our burning quadriceps as our hands became chaffed by the rough rocks.

At times the trail would provide alternate routes, which were slightly less difficult than the provided path. At one point, I took the difficult route while my fellow travelers went the alternate route. As I began scaling the rock, I realized too late that I was on a very small ledge and if I were to slip I would undoubtedly fall into the seemingly endless chasm. For a brief moment my fear of heights nearly took over making me dizzy and weak. But I quickly realized that I had no choice but to keep moving forward. After I hoisted myself over the boulder, I briefly became a pious person and thanked God for the clarity to make it through that moment.

As we scrambled our way up the mountain, we had the most magnificent view up and down the view. Every bit of the climb was breathtaking. If I had remembered batteries of my camera, I would have taken tens of tens of photos. (Note to self: Repeat this climb during fall foliage.)Oh and thanks to these guys for posting their hiking photos online. Unlike me they obviously remembered batteries for their camera.

After making it atop the rock slide, where most of the Manhattaites turned to head back down the hill toward Cold Springs, my hiking party carried on. We spent the next 4 hours hiking up the more traditional trails, in search for the fire tower which would provide us with views of the Manhattan skyline.

As we moved deeper into the woods, I realized that the hiking directions I had weren't the most accurate and began to regret not picking up an official hiking trail book. After a couple wrong turns and second guessing ourselves, we backtracked our way back to the "official" trail. After four hours of hiking we eventually made it to the fire tower and we enjoyed lunch, while not-so-secretly hoping we were loud enough to scare away the large cat whose paw prints surrounded the water hole close by.

We then hiked on and and out of the mountain. Seeing other hikers coming up the mountain was rewarding. The best part was when they'd ask where we were coming from. When we told them Breakneck, they were always astonished that we hiked so far. By the time we exited the woods, we were in Beacon. NY. Despite returning to Manhattan dirty and smelling like bug spray, I complete didn't care that I was wearing khaki shorts and sneakers in the city. We were a misfit group of hikers and I was proud of what we had accomplished in our day hike.

I has so much fun, I've actually purchased a book on day-hikes in the NY area and intend on purchasing a bonefied pair of hiking boots. Although, I highly doubt that anything can come close to those first 1200 feet of Breakneck...


At 2:09 AM, Blogger swandad said...

That sounds awesome! I think you just motivated me to do just the same!


At 9:19 AM, Blogger ~km~ said...

Wow - what a trip. Sounds like a wonderful hike. I bet it felt great afterwards. I would love to see the view of Manhattan next time you go.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Caitlyn said...

I always love that escape to adventures. It's nice to get away sometimes, especially to something so different than what you see everyday. The hike sounds amazing- I love the mountains up in northern NY and hike those often.

At 10:14 PM, Blogger carollai said...

my husband found your site because we're thinking of heading to breakneck on monday! awesome review you've given... we're psyched. :) thanks!

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Villa Bisono said...

I just found your blog as I am going hiking there tomorrow and now I am a little scare of the rock scrambling. I hope I don't miss a step and end up somewhere hurt. But thanks for the great review and will be a little extra careful as tomorrows heatwave will continue!


At 6:04 PM, Blogger StaindShardStudio said...

My best friend and I did breakneck last fall...I'm 280lbs and 5'3...I'm a big girl. We didn't read about breakneck before...I just remember a hike up it back when I was 10, with my dad. We did the rock scramble and the hard trails and that whole thing... We got about 20 feet from the very top and the entrance to the easier trails...but it was pretty much a rock face...and if we slipped we would have died. We also didn't think the dog would be able to manage...and i wasn't living with that guilt if something happened. We decided we had to go back down the same way..IN THE DARK! VERY SCARY...I'm not religious but I found God on that mountain...and lost my pants...and the first layer of skin on my butt..literally. I wish i could post what was left of my pants. I had to lay on my stomach for a week... couldn't butt was a big scab. We read up about the hike AFTER the incident. It was very stupid of us...and we were almost those people that had to call for rescue. ..we cried when we got back down and we and the dog were safe. I am happy I did it though...after the fact...but don't have any plans of doing that again...although those last 20 feet...would have been nice to conquer.

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow the comments left by staindshardstudio made me laugh.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger RAHI said...

Hey can you tell me where you went after getting over the rocks. I feel as if I will get lost on the way back because the end of all the trails is beacon. Unless you loop back and go back to the original trail?


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