Wednesday, February 8, 2017
On Sunday I returned to Breakneck Ridge for the official Rambler hike, clocking in at 11 miles with 2,900 feet of elevation gain. The weather and hiking conditions were almost identical to the previous week.
It's a tough hike - we started off with a steep climb up Breakneck. Not the scramble up its face, mind you; the trail itself is still challenging enough. Then we went down its north face, then back up Sugarloaf, then down and up over and over, with a last climb up Mt. Taurus before heading back down to Cold Spring.
There are many nice official viewpoints along this hike, and in the winter there are many more vistas through the trees.
Breakneck Ridge is a very heavily visited area, particularly the trails near the Hudson River, so going in winter is a nice way to see it without the usual crowds. However, the impact of the high visitation is visible, especially on the Washburn Trail. It could really use some trail work, maybe even aggressive hardening like at Bear Mountain.
One thing of note; the previous week at Sunset Point we had noticed one of the two platforms was missing several stairs. On our return, they had been fixed. Thanks, park employees or volunteers!