Saturday, June 28, 2014

Breakneck Ridge Hikin'

For our one year annivesary, my boyfriend and I woke up bright and early in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn took the subway to Grand Central for Metro North for one of 3 trains on Saturdays that stops at the Breckneck Ridge trailhead. It took about 2.5 hours in all to get there. It's really great that one of the most challenging hikes in the area is so easily accessible from the city. This has it's downsides, of course, because everyone and their mom and dog goes on this hike - the experienced and not, but this is only frustrating for the first 45 minutes or so when everyone is waiting in line to rock scramble their way up to almost 1,000 ft - with glorious views of the Hudson River, Storm King Mountain, and Pollepel Island/Bannerman's Castle.

If you click on this photo you will see 
the view of the rock scramble 
from Little Stony Point Park
Hike Length: 3.8 miles
Hike Time: About 5 hours **We took our time once we saw ruins**
Peak Elevation: 1,260 ft (384m)

Everyone starts the trail the same way, on the White trail - it is the rock scramble which gives this hike a 9 out of 10 on difficulty on New York-New Jersey Trail Conference website, but honestly the rest of the trail we did was easy, breezy so Josh and I agreed on rounding it off at 6 out of 10 due to the rock scramble. Side note: I purchased a set of maps for East Hudson Trails from Paragon Sports printed by the NYNJTC - really helpful, clear, colorful maps of the trails. I highly recommend them!

Our path: White - then a right at the blue trail which turns into the red trail for a hot minute and then we're back on blue (Cornish trail) which ends out across the tracks from Little Stony Point Park.

Climbing the rock scramble for about an hour off and on.
(And thanks to my great, former supervisor Lauri for that backpack - 2 years later it's still going strong!)
Feelin' successful and we're only 10 minutes in.
Hudson River and a piece of Storm King Mountain.
Hudson River views.
Pollepel Island with Bannerman Castle
You can see the train tracks that brought us to the trailhead.

This was Josh's third hike ever. It's been so exciting sharing these adventures with him.
Here is Josh stunned and bewildered that we still have all that way to get to the top of Breakneck.

Pollepel Island/Bannerman's Castle
I love dead trees in a sea of greenery.
Great day, and a great way to celebrate a year together!
Green field along the blue trail.
The epic ruins we saw on this hike surpass the old hotel ruins we saw on Overlook Mountain the month before. Northgate or the Edward J. Cornish Estate was a 650 acre estate with a mansion, garage, swimming pool, garden, barn, and assumingly much, much more. The ruins along these trails have been falling apart since 1938 when Cornish and his wife died two weeks apart. Of course when we hiked this trail we did not know these details and simply marveled at the beauty of them all. If you are curious to see what the estate/mansion looked like in roughly 1918, please follow this link: Northgate original photos.

Old barn ruins along the Blue trail
Old barn ruins.
Old barn ruins.
Who used to live here?
Paper beats rock? Nature beats human.
Hi, honey! I'm home!
More ruins!
Much further down, already on the Cornish/blue trail - A well or a swimming pool?
An old Greenhouse in an old green forest.
Most beautiful ruins towards the end of the blue/Cornish trail - Northgate/Cornish Estate
Northgate/Cornish Estate Ruins - This must have been the mansion, it was my favorite as the grass and trees grew all around it making it look so magical.
Northgate/Cornish Estate Ruins
Northgate/Cornish Estate Ruins. Glorious, look at those plants!
Northgate/Cornish Estate Ruins.

Once we exited the trail we were right on a road and train tracks across from Little Stony Point, a peaceful spot to swim or dip your toes into the Hudson River after a long hike. We unfortunately under packed water with us so we could not stay here long, but we did get to sit and rest before we moved onward to Cold Spring for an early dinner (photos not included).

Little Stony Point - a lovely spot on the Hudson River
Peace on the Hudson River East.
Train tracks led us back home...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hikin' Overlook Mountain

Memorial Day weekend my family always goes upstate New York, and this year was no exception! Joining the 4 Russian clansmen were my brother's gal and my guy. One day we drove over to Woodstock, NY to hike Overlook Mountain (peak elevation: 3,140'). The hike is 5 miles round trip along a gravel road that is often complained about (check Yelp or ask my mom!), but at the top are old hotel ruins, a fire tower to bring you even closer to the heavens, and 360 views of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains including the Hudson River and Ashokan Reservoir. We took a long break at the top, so the hike was about 3.5 hours Woodstock NY. At the bottom of the trailhead we visited the Tibetan Buddhist temple Karma Triyana Dharmachakra and then had a well deserved lunch in town. I recommend this hike because of all of the gloriousness you find at the top - pack a nice lunch and spend some time enjoying the views and ruins.

Overlook Mountain House or the "Old Hotel Ruins" is the site where between the early 1800s and 1940 three hotels were built and burned down. The area was temporarily prime retail for the elite who wanted to spend a few nights in the mountains but sleeping in a luxury hotel instead of camping. However, the location and accessibility proved to be dismal, the 3rd hotel was never finished but made out of concrete - Morris Newgold wanted something less flammable, more durable. Durable he got - the site has suffered at least one more fire since it was boarded up in the 1940s, but it continues to stand and provide for an interesting stopover on the Overlook Mountain hike.

My dad's crazy beard.
Made it to the fire tower!
This is what the hikin' boots see.

The gang's all here.

Me and my sweetheart.
My hilarious mama.
Tibetan Buddhist temple Karma Triyana Dharmachakra
Tibetan Buddhist temple Karma Triyana Dharmachakra

Tibetan Buddhist temple Karma Triyana Dharmachakra