Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mount Beacon night circular hike

HudsonYesterday I did a nice hike with the Ramblers along the eastern portion of the Hudson. As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of the Hudson, and the hike was much more scenically interesting than Harriman State Park. We started by taking the Metro North train to Beacon and following a greenway along the water. We walked along abandoned train tracks, following Fishkill Creek.
Falls These falls are part of an old dam complex, the ruins of which we walked over. A dead giveaway is the unnatural evenness of the falls. The hike along the river thus far has been nearly flat, and it will stay that way a little longer as we head through the town of Beacon. But then you see Mount Beacon ahead of you.
Mount Beacon That clear line up the mountain is what used to be an incline railway. There was a casino at the top, as well as summer homes. The trail mostly follows that line, which means it is a little steep. Most of the 1500 feet of elevation gain on the hike was all right here in one shot.
Gears and ruins The ruins of the gearhouse for the funicular are at the top, along with spectacular views of Beacon and the Hudson River. At this point it was getting dark, not to mention chilly. We had elected to do this as a night hike, meaning that now the sun was setting. The trail we descended by was much gentler than our uphill route (excluding a slight off-trail diversion) and mostly followed an old road.
Sunset We descended to the town of Beacon and did a short tour of some of the better Christmas lights before catching the train back to Manhattan. All told, we hiked 10.3 miles.

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