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Another weekend, another hike.

I love long weekends.  Then again, who doesn’t?  After my three and a half hours of sleep on Thursday night, I was pretty pooped by the time I got into the city on Friday.  J and I ate lots of plums and pistachios.  Oh, the amount of pistachios that I’ve had this weekend.  Costco bags of pistachios are simply bad news bears.  And then we went to sleep.

On Saturday, we went into Manhattan for a stroll in Central Park after some quick, but unsuccessful, shopping at Bloomingdales.  The weather was splendid, though the wind was strong.  We noticed that something was being blown through the air – at first, I thought the something was simply dust.  Then, we realized it was smoke, but we couldn’t determine the source of the smoke.  [After some Googling yesterday, I discovered that a pier on the Hudson had caught fire.]  Not wanting to be breathing in smoke, we decided to head downtown.  I suggested checking out Eataly on 23rd and 5th – the new Italian place that just opened.  Eataly is a combination of upscale Italian grocery store/cafe/gelateria/chocolatier/bakery/restaurant/ … well, everything.  There was even someone making fresh mozzarella (which I will buy on a return trip soon).  J bought some shishito peppers (which he pan-fried in olive oil for dinner) and a green spoon!

Earlier in the week, J had mentioned good hiking about an hour north of the city.  On Saturday night, he casually mentioned that the trail involved a lot of rock scrambling.  I decided to Google Breakneck Ridge – and found many sites tooting the difficulty and strenuousness of the rocky ascents.  These comments, along with the many recommendations for ankle-high hiking boots, made me wonder if we should wait until we had proper gear.  Then I decided, “nah.”

We prepared` peanut butter sandwiches (with dulce de leche for J and Speculoos for me).  J made granola with sunflower seeds, coconut, raisins, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, and maple syrup for hiking fuel.

Sunday morning, we woke up early and packed our food and snacks for the road.  J carried eight bottles of water in his backpack for the two of us (thanks J!).  J’s roommate came along, as well, and the three of us took the Metro North to Breakneck Ridge.

We had some difficulty locating the trailhead – we knew we had to walk south from the train stop, but we didn’t quite know how far south.  We walked back and forth through the same tunnel four times as we tried to figure out whether the trailhead was located before or after the tunnel.  Eventually, I looked it up using J’s Blackberry (why didn’t I do this sooner?).  Apparently, we were supposed to walk 0.25 miles south from the stop along Route 90…and the trailhead is just north of the tunnel along the highway.  Oops.

After that slight mishap, we began the hike.  I knew to expect a steep ascent after reading so many descriptions of the trails.  The first hour or so of the hike entailed a steep climb (~1000 ft), at times nearly vertical, over rock ledges.  The gorgeous views more than rewarded the exertion.  Since I left my Sony at home and refused to bring the DSLR on the hike, I only have camera photos to show.

The Hudson River and the surrounding valley offered a scenic backdrop to the climb.  The White trail took us up and along the ridge, with some descents and ascents along the way.  We looped back around on the Yellow trail, which went over Sugarloaf Mountain.  The total distance of the hike? 5.5 miles, similar in the distance to the hike on Sleeping Giant, but more difficult.  [The descriptions that I’d read on Saturday called this one of the most challenging hikes in the area – I think the hardest parts were climbing up and down the rock faces – the rest of the trail wasn’t too bad.]

Once we were back at ground level (around 3pm), we decided to walk the 2 miles or so to get to Cold Spring, rather than wait at the Breakneck Ridge station for two hours for the next train.  Cold Spring is a quaint little village, with many antique shops lining the main street (creatively called Main Street).  One shop advertised fruit pops – after 5 hours of hiking, how could we resist?  The peach and blueberry popsicle was very refreshing, with lots of blueberries and chunks of peaches.

Around 5pm, we hopped on the train to return to the urban jungle.  By 6:30 pm, we were back in J’s apartment.  I bought a huge hunk of fresh mozzarella from the grocery downstairs and paired it with some bread for dinner.  J made spaghetti with a homemade sauce that called for proscuitto (’twas very good).  Once again, we were ready for bed before midnight.  Hiking was tiring, but incredibly fun.

I met a friend for brunch today at Lina Frey – originally, we had plans to go to Clinton Street Baking Co (you know, the place that did a pancake throwdown with Bobby Flay), but the two hour wait time that we were given was just too long.  The sugar and butter crepe that I had at Lina Frey was good, but so, so buttery.  Oozing with butter.

J’s making duck now.  Yippee!

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