The next “brakes for beauty” brought to you by – Breakneck Ridge in Cold Springs, New York! Well, that only sounds slightly menacing – right? Breakneck Ridge is NOT a leisurely walk in the woods. It is called a “rock scramble”. Within 5 minutes of starting the trail, I realized that this is simply a fancy name for find footing and lift yourself up rocks to ascend a mountain. Although the sign below says this is for experienced hikers in excellent physical condition (I am neither), my friend and I decided to continue on. The only people I definitely do not recommend this hike to are small kids, the elderly (open to interpretation), or individuals who are prone to injury. Remember, factor in weather when deciding to do this or any other trail (I do not think I could have done this in summer months).
From where I live, the drive took us about forty minutes and we parked on the side of the road. However, I did look up how far this would be from NYC and it is about an 80 minute train ride via Metro North leaving Grand Central. Except for that tid-bit of information, I am not sure if you would have access to a different trail (as I definitely did not see any trains near the start of the trail we used). If you decide to look into this hike, utilize Google and see what works for you. I found the web-site Explore Hudson Valley that gives a more in-depth description of what, where, and how. I believe the trail route highlighted in the third or fourth picture of the web-site is the one we followed and it took us about 4 hours. However, I know that there are a multitude of trails to choose from and here is the link to the official trail map.
Now instead of trying to describe the scenery surrounding the hike, this is when pictures get useful…
Hiking (to me) is a great way of getting out of your head. On certain trails, you need to look down to watch your footing and problem solve on how to navigate rocks or slippery mud patches. It forces you to be mindful of your surroundings, rather than obsessing over thoughts inside your head. On less strenuous hikes, it can be easy to return to loops in your mind (worrying about a significant other, job, school, friend, etc.). This is why sometimes it can be beneficial to learn about wildlife/botany in the area. As I stated in a prior post, the more you know about your surroundings the more interesting life becomes. If botany absolutely does not interest you, photography is also a great method to get you to notice little details that you may have otherwise missed. You could always try to figure out what you were looking at later or just enjoy the beauty of what you captured. Here are some small, beautiful bits of nature I happened to notice:
As we made our way down the mountain, we followed trail markers that changed from white to yellow to red. The second half of the hike (going down), was definitely not as strenuous as the trip up. However, (maybe it was because we were distracted and talking) we kept missing turn-offs to get back to our car. Call it serendipity, but missing markers along our trail brought us to a spot that we SHOULD have never encountered.I guess life is funny like that… you set out on a certain path and because of mistakes (or things just not going your way) you end up somewhere that turns out to be even better than your original destination. Even crazier? You don’t even realize you are missing out on something (something so much better than the original plan) until you are there!
Find details about this unexpected encounter in “Part 2”!