Saturday, November 8, 2014

Escaping the City: A Daytrip to Breakneck Ridge

The variety of things to do, places to explore, and opportunities to take advantage of in New York City is truly astounding. Nevertheless, it is still a city, and cities (as densely populated areas with countless buildings as tall and far as the eye can see) categorically have certain limitations. Namely, nature and green space is conspicuously restricted. Although Fordham's Rose Hill campus achieves an impressive balance between grassy areas and the buildings they surround, I sometimes find myself craving an inversion of the urban landscape: nature as far as the eye can see interrupted only by the odd building or two, rather than the other way around.

Campus is even more beautiful in autumn.

To this end, my friends and I recently took a daytrip to go hiking. Although none of us have a car at school, there is a Metro North Railroad station just outside campus that enables practically door-to-door transportation to Breakneck Ridge, a mountain with a number of trails along the Hudson River in Cold Spring, NY.
Hiking at Breakneck is very popular with New Yorkers in the fall, so our train was standing-room only.
The train stop is about 300 feet from the entrance to the trail, which begins with a steep uphill climb. This ended up being the most challenging and tiring section of our hike, with some nearly-vertical sections that required minor bouldering. The effort was worth it though...

Looking south back towards NYC - over 50 miles away.
The view from the summit was astounding.
The view west across the Hudson. Hardly a cloud in the sky.
Although I'm originally from Massachusetts and very proud of New England's reputation for breathtaking vistas when the leaves begin to change color in the fall, I'll admit that I was impressed with the landscape at Breakneck.

A group of birds of prey circled nearby throughout the day.
The park offers a variety of terrain on several trails marked by colored tree markers along the way.
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is just visible across the river from the southern end of the park.
We had packed lunches and ate on the mountain. Including breaks, our hike took about 5 hours from the time we got off the train until we reached the village of Cold Spring.

A great place to stop and take in the view.
After visiting the town of Cold Spring (where we each grabbed a well-deserved ice cream), we hopped back on the train and headed home.

There may not be any mountains, but Edwards Parade is still a great place to spend time outdoors.

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