Sunday, March 25, 2012

I'm still a tourist up here - exploring Putnam & the edge of Dutchess County

I haven't done this in a while but this morning I woke up and decided I needed to get the heck out of town.
I wanted to find a good hike to help get my climbing legs back as bike season begins.  Saturday morning I went with the Women's group I had gone with a could times before in Greenwich.  It was just a short 17.7 miles and I felt good the whole way but I could tell with the few short climbs that I was going to have to get some more leg work in.  I don't know if I just have some sort of mild version of SAD, but over the last few months I have found many excuses to hold myself back in terms of being active.  The more I start to collect and read all of these running and healthy eating blogs and hear about my own friends who conquer such awesome, inspirational athletic feats every day the more I am starting to push myself more. I've started to really understand that your body is usually always more capable than you THINK it is.  And while that isn't to say you shouldn't listen to and take care of your body, you have more ability and strength than you think you have and it's okay to push yourself because more often than not you'll come out feeling on top of the world.  (or on top of Breakneck Ridge :) ).

So on with that story..I didn't leave town until noon and a I took my time on the hour and a half drive.  I stopped at this country store in the rolling "countryside" of NY drawn to the sign for fresh bread but ended up with a fresh new bar of soap instead!

The season was still early so they didn't have much in stock, I'll have to come back and pay the lady a visit during the summer
Can't wait to try it tonight!
This actually wasn't a very long hike.   My Garmin didn't pick up the satellites right away but I estimate it was just over 3 miles.  The climb was killer though.  I wanted to do the Breakneck Ridge trail which is 5.5 miles and climbs 1250 feet in 3/4 mile but the description said that the terrain gets slick and dangerous when wet and there was a chance of rain and I didn't have much time starting in the afternoon so I chose two alternative routes that made for a shorter hike that still went up the 1250 feet but over a slightly longer distance (a little over a mile).  I started with the Wilkenson Memorial Trail and took the Breakneck Bypass that cut out a lot of the steepest climbing on the Breakneck Ridge Trail.  Now I finally get the name ha!  It was slow going, it was like climbing a staircase and within about 1/4 of a mile I had already lost 3 of my layers (way overdressed).  I am still constantly amazed by some of the breathtaking views in NY and this one definitely didn't disappoint.
Not quite to the top yet, a view of the Hudson River - My car is somewhere at the bottom of that hill that I am now above

The surprise ending - a breathtaking view on the other side of the ridge
When I finally go to the top I was well rewarded with a spectacular view of believe it or not I think it's actually called Lake Surprise haha.
I enjoyed a nice little snack at the top - half a banana and a couple sardines - before you judge they are actually really good!  I found it very strange after a while sitting there on the quiet expansive ridge.  As my breath had calmed and I was no longer gasping for breath it was almost an eerie quiet.

I think hiking alone as its upsides - you can take everything in at your own pace and enjoy your own thoughts.  When I go though I try to stick to shorter hikes because it can get a little boring by yourself as you don't have conversation to pass the time on the trail.  Plus, I don't like to get too far in away from my car in case something happens.  I usually always go to a state park where I know there will be plenty of other tourists like me. :)  Here is a map of the park and you can see which trail I did - obviously there is a lot of ground I didn't cover. Trail Map
After my hike I went down to the historic downtown area near the train (every city on CT and NY seem to have a typical "Main Street".  Every little cafe I went into had something I wanted to buy and it's always awkward going into small cafes without buying anything (which is why I ended up with an oatmeal cookie and a coffee at the first one I stopped at).  So much for avoiding sugar ha!  I'm goign to bank on since it was a Natural Health food cafe that it wasn't too unhealthy because it was one of the best cookies I've ever had!  I sat on a bench on the street watching people and dipping it in my hot coffee.
Now it's back home and back to reality!  And time to shower..I feel all icky and crawly..

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