Blog: Downstate NY
For the past few years, I haven’t considered it truly summer until I hike Breakneck Ridge. Rated the Best Day Hike in America by Trails.com, it’s a stunning scramble above the Hudson with views that improve as you climb each impossible notch.
Then the trail ambles back through glorious meadows and the day concludes with a burger and fireworks at the All-American town of Beacon, NY.
But Breakneck Ridge is to some degree a victim of its own popularity, and on a spectacular Saturday with a late start, I wasn’t looking forward to being the 1000th car parked down the road from the trailhead.
The song’s chorus echoes “Aint No Cure for the Summertime Blues.” Fewer people remember the oldies classic every year but the words still ring true for skiers.
My favorite cure to escape the heat of the city has been the collection of parks that make up what is known as “The Gunks.”
It seems there is always something else to see there. The cliff flanked ridge allows unparalleled views of the Catskills to the north as well as the Hudson Highlands to the south.
With an iffy forecast for the summit of Mt Washington, my 2013-2014 season might have gone out with a whimper. Although I was disappointed, at first, I wondered if the balmy temps and fresh leaves and the smell of bbq might put Memorial Day as a win.
Beyond making the adjustment from dynafits to hiking boots, I saw an opportunity to get outside with some friends I don’t see much during the ski season.
The group wanted to get some big miles, and for the first hike of the spring, we set our sights on an empty quadrant of Harriman State Park, opting to hike to Claudius Smith Den from 106 instead of the more accessible, and crowded, Johnsontown Road.