Nov 10, 2012 · 9:15 AM
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The other day I was thinking about what hike I wanted to do next and remembered that I wanted to cross Mount Taurus off my list of "need to do" hikes. This is an excellent Hudson River valley climb with several fantastic views and points of interest along the way. While looking at the trail map and plotting the route I wanted to hike, I noticed that Breakneck Ridge -- one of my favorite hikes of all time -- is just a stone's throw up the road.
Uh oh, I smell trouble.
Look before you leap ...
I can't travel all this way and have Breakneck Ridge within sight and not hike it, so we're going to do both peaks this day. We'll start our hike with a 1,000 foot ascent up Breakneck, then we'll make our way back down to road level via a different trail and tackle our second peak, climbing 1,400 feet up the face of Mount Taurus. We will finish by looping back to our starting point, taking in the stunning views and examining the ruins of several old structures along the way.
We'll be tackling two separate summits and doing some serious rock scrambling as well as making chest bursting ascents but the reward is well worth the effort. No beginners or armchair athletes allowed on this one. If you don't have at least several strenuous hikes under your belt then you'd better tell me that your alter ego is either Superman or Wonder Woman. And if you attended my September Breakneck Ridge hike and are thinking you've been there and done that, only 25% of that hike will be repeated. The rest will be all new s&%t so don't hem and haw, hit that RSVP button!
The important stuff ...
- This is an advanced level hike of about 8.5 miles and I recommend that attendees be in excellent cardiovascular shape -- being a triathlete isn't necessary but "exercise" shouldn't be a four-letter word to you. There are numerous rock scrambles and a 2,800 foot elevation gain so be prepared for a challenge.
- Also, if you have a fear of heights this might not be a good hike for you. There are areas where you will skirt along ledges and near lengthy drop offs.
- This is a social hike, the pace will be moderate -- we'll be stopping to take in the views and smell the flowers. If you yearn to channel your inner Mountain Goat and feel the need to race everyone to the top of the mountain, this is not the hiking trip for you.
- Dress in layers of non-cotton clothing, wear hiking boots or trail shoes (I wouldn't recommend sneakers but that is at your discretion), a hat, bring 3 liters of fluid, a packed lunch and/or snacks, and sunscreen.
- Rain cancels the hike.
- No guests allowed, sorry.
- RSVP only if you seriously plan to attend as space is limited. If you RSVP and I notice you have a number of no shows or a history of last minute cancellations, you will be removed.
- I will distribute my mobile phone number to the confirmed RSVPs two days before the event. Don't leave home without it.
How to get there ....
Take the Metro-North East Hudson Line to the Breakneck Ridge flag station, the 7:50 AM train from Grand Central gets you there at 9:05 AM. The off peak round-trip train fare is $24.50 and make sure you are sitting in the last car to get off at this station. When you disembark, walk about a half mile South down Route 9D to the start of the trailhead, which is on the Southbound side of the road, just before the entrance to the Breakneck Ridge tunnel underpass. (See photo below.)
Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its Northern terminus at the Bear Mountain Bridge. Cross the bridge and proceed north on N.Y. Route 9D for about 8.5 miles to the Village of Cold Spring. Continue ahead on Route 9D for another two miles past the intersection with N.Y. Route 301 in Cold Spring. Immediately after passing through a tunnel under Breakneck Ridge, park in the small parking area on the left (West) side of the road. (See photo below. If this parking area is full, continue north for another 0.2 mile to a much larger parking area on the West side of the road).
This hike is cross-posted in Evenings & Weekends in New York City. Check there when trying to set up a carpool http://www.meetup.com/E-W-N-Y-C/events/87549502/