Hiking: Breakneck Ridge, Hudson Valley New York (Phone pics)

I’ve been meaning to hike up to the Breakneck Ridge for a while, since a bunch of my friends have done it and recommended it. According to this helpful website, its difficulty is rated as 10/10 due to the steepness and rock scrambling (which I love).

20141129_084504

We started off with breakfast at 168 Tea Shop. Then we drove for about an hour and a half (from Queens) and took the wrong turn — the sign for “Cold Spring” seemed to have come out of nowhere and we couldn’t make the turn in time. But after the detour, here we were! We parked right next to the tunnel:

20141129_105642 20141129_105636

There were a few parking spots here, and to the right began our trail (follow the white markers).

20141129_105655

Take a map here or print it beforehand.

20141129_111329

20141129_111333

Now, I usually LOVE rock scrambling and climbing up big rocks. I love the challenge of using my arms to hoist myself up and looking for places to put my feet on. But because of the snow and ice (it was 30 degrees F), I had to be more careful in looking for rocks to step on, especially since they were covered. I would like to come back in the spring/summer/fall.

20141129_111336 20141129_112840

There were some parts of just straight climbing.

20141129_114944

This was a beautiful lookout point. The snow covered some trees… but this was only the beginning.

20141129_114947 20141129_114950 20141129_114952 20141129_115023 20141129_115107 20141129_115201 20141129_120932

At some parts we had to figure out alternative routes to go around the thick snow.

20141129_121132

A sign! Telling us there is a less steep way.

20141129_121256 20141129_121311 20141129_135033

After lots of scrambling over snow covered rocks, we finally got the the turning point: the red trail aka “Breakneck Bypass”! This was the descent part of the route, which was actually more tough for me to go through because the snow was up to my calves at some parts. Going downhill in snow and ice was frustrating because it was VERY easy to slip and slide; for half the trek I just sat and slid down, which resulted in bruises on my behind.

Note: before we got to this red marker, there was a sign pointing to the right for the yellow trail — that’s not the way to go if you want to make a loop to go back to your car…

20141129_142248 20141129_144223

And here ends the red trail, back to the “Route 9D” trail aka back to the starting point! This was another descent that was a little bit less annoying (less slippery I suppose) with the hope that we were almost back to civilization.

20141129_150254

Here we are! I hiked this with new hiking boots that I just purchased the day before, the Salomon Quest 4D GTX. The high tops definitely helped prevent the snow from invading my socks and feet. The reviews were mixed on the waterproofness of it but I can say thank God I wore these! I could NOT have done this with sneakers (which we saw a few hikers wore).

20141129_150325

We walked a small section of this road back to the car. Overall, it was an exhausting hike and not that many great lookout points; only one beautiful view which was seen in the beginning. Probably would not make it to my list of top hikes, but it IS a short drive from NYC — I will make another assessment when I come back under better weather conditions.

After a long hike (4-5 hours?), we went to the nearby Hudson House in Cold Spring for steak as per recommendation from my friend. Great complimentary popovers with strawberry butter to start with. I enjoyed my rib-eye more than the T-bone.

20141129_153200 20141129_153653 20141129_160447 20141129_160454

Advertisements

Travelogue: Miami Beach, Fl (January 2013)

I decided to do a throwback travelogue for a memorable trip back in 2013 — Miami Beach, since I’ll be going back there January 2015! So excited about it since I had very fond memories of Miami: the beach lifestyle, everybody’s working out on the beach (beach yoga!), sunny and breezy weather, great Cuban food, amazing restaurants off the beaten path, walking around and seeing all the unique architecture and absorbing all the culture around you!

Many people think of Miami as a nightclub-party-beachy vacation, but there’s just so much more to it! Honestly, I went to bed every night before 10PM when I was there because (run-on sentence alert) I was exhausted from walking all day and seeing all the architectural gems and biking and eating and shopping (see how excited I am about Miami)!

So here is my trip from almost 2 years ago, all phone pictures because I didn’t see the need to bring my DSLR to a beachy vacation — I was SO wrong — there’s so much I want to capture on my next visit!

2013-01-12 08.57.42 2013-01-12 13.52.58

We stayed the the Perry hotel, which is now completely renovated and rebranded as 1 Hotel & Homes. It was such a nice hotel despite the negative reviews on Yelp.

2013-01-12 14.00.18 20130113_102643 20130113_102650

The hotel had a rooftop pool overlooking the beach front completed with a bar and great service. The room was super spacious (much bigger than the picture shows here) and chic.

20130112_140436 2013-01-14 10.47.30

They also had another huge pool on another level. It was such a good find.

20130112_143149 2013-01-12 14.31.54

Walking around South Beach you’ll find a lot of picture ops.

2013-01-12 14.42.56 2013-01-12 14.48.18

And of course, good, cheap Cuban food.

2013-01-12 15.14.22 2013-01-12 15.14.42 2013-01-12 15.18.35 2013-01-12 15.18.39

Playa Cafe on Washington Ave– hole in the wall local Cuban food, nothing fancy and that’s the best!

2013-01-12 16.12.48 2013-01-12 16.18.03 2013-01-12 16.37.10

 

Wet Willie’s — apparently a must-stop in Miami. They have an upstairs with 20+ different alcoholic slushies for you to taste and purchase. “Call-A-Cab” was highly recommended, but we stuck with sour apple instead.  $10 is the usual size in a plastic cup, and $12 for the souvenir cup (larger size).

2013-01-12 17.29.20 2013-01-12 17.24.41

Along the ocean front you’ll see a lot of tourist traps; they advertise with these giant margaritas. They can get pretty pricey.

2013-01-12 17.54.53

We walked down to Espanola Way — a street of restaurants, cafes and bars that become a salsa village at night. Or so we were told. It’s a tiny village that’s worth seeing. Very artsy and not “Miami-like”. But then again, this blog post isn’t about that scene.

2013-01-13 23.11.33 2013-01-12 18.03.40 2013-01-12 18.05.24 2013-01-12 18.08.42 2013-01-12 18.18.46

We got gelato at Milani Gelateria.

2013-01-12 18.52.38 2013-01-13 17.42.20

This was a cool spot that we walked by; a picture at night and in the day time.

2013-01-13 09.14.20 2013-01-13 09.14.30

There were many brunch places at the restaurants inside hotels. We tried out a couple. This was The Lantao Social Club, which has now been renovated completely (see the trend here?) and renamed The Social Club. It’s still inside the Surfcomber hotel.

2013-01-13 09.26.54 20130113_092659 2013-01-13 09.32.39

It was amazing; one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Outdoor seating with big cushions too!

2013-01-13 16.18.56 20130113_163446

We then walked to Lincoln Road again (seems like we were there everyday!) and got a frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity. It was my first time at this establishment even though we have one in NYC. There’s something about dining out in Miami, though, that’s different. First, they have outdoor seating in nearly most of their restaurants all year round, which can never happen in New York (snow and sleet make seats not desirable).

2013-01-13 17.06.18 2013-01-13 17.07.03

More window shopping at Anthropologie.

20130113_180819 2013-01-13 18.19.53

I found a Lululemon! It was closed though, since many places here closed at dusk…

Pubbelly was on my list of food to eat in Miami. And it was fantastic. It is SO underrated!

Highly recommend:
1) McBelly – pork belly sliders
2) Fried Chicken
3) Duck and pumpkin dumplings

We shared 5 or 6 dishes between the two of us. It’s tapas style, so the dishes aren’t huge. The rest were good, but those would be my top 3.

2013-01-13 18.43.28 2013-01-13 18.43.54 2013-01-13 18.45.49 2013-01-13 18.48.25 2013-01-13 18.52.36 2013-01-13 19.30.26

We got the chocolate brownie dessert with bacon. You cannot go wrong with chocolate and bacon. It may be an acquired taste, and your companion may not ever acquire it… Which means more for you.

2013-01-13 19.52.13 2013-01-13 20.29.18

There were DECOBIKE stations all around Miami Beach. They were SO convenient! …If only I didn’t fall off my bike.

2013-01-14 09.49.30 2013-01-14 09.51.24  20130114_110631 2013-01-14 13.51.18 2013-01-14 13.51.41 2013-01-14 14.27.11 2013-01-14 14.27.23

 

It was a laid-back kinda day everyday.

We decided to stop by one of these tourist traps along the ocean front, and it wasn’t bad! The only thing is that they lure you in with $3.99 appetizers and don’t list the prices of the drinks. This ended up being $25, but it was big enough to share, so it was okay.

2013-01-14 15.51.31 2013-01-14 15.57.00

Our last dinner in Miami was a highly anticipated one at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. I made a reservation ahead of time. I was a bit disappointed as it did not live up to the hype, but it was still a good meal.

2013-01-14 18.44.14 2013-01-14 18.45.47 2013-01-14 19.01.22 2013-01-14 19.01.35 2013-01-14 19.01.45 2013-01-14 19.36.43

On this trip, there was one thing I regret… that I didn’t join in this beach yoga class! I didn’t have a towel and felt awkward just barging in. 3rd St Beach Yoga, you’re on my list!

20130114_171148-1
3rd St Beach Yoga

Hiking Mohonk: Labyrinth, Lemon Squeeze, Skytop

20141107_112135

We went on a Friday — the entrance fee was $21 as opposed to $26 on the weekends. Our goal of the day was to find the Sky Top Tower while scrambling and squeezing through/under/over rocks. You can call Mohonk for a recorded message on hiking conditions at 845-256-2197. We called before we left in case it closed for inclement weather.

 

20141107_115005

There’s about a mile between the parking lot and the actual trail. The guy said that there was no shuttle that day. It’s not too bad of a walk though.  20141107_115025

 

Lots of lookouts. We wanted to see the fall foliage and there it was!

20141107_115302

They provided us with a map.

 

20141107_120803

There were a bunch of trails that led to Sky Top.

20141107_124702

 

“Dawn seat”, I read as “Damn seat”…

20141107_125656

20141107_130659

There’s the Mohonk Mountain House.

20141107_131448

This is where it gets difficult. Especially for me, since I’m afraid of heights. Like panic-attack-hyperventilating-legs-giving-out afraid.

 

20141107_133623 2014-11-07 13.23.41 2014-11-07 13.36.27 2014-11-07 13.53.04 2014-11-07 14.25.38 2014-11-07 14.41.31 2014-11-07 15.10.22

 

There were lots of short and long ladders, at one point I had to crawl to get up through rocks. Lots of deep crevices.

 

20141107_133625

20141107_143024

20141107_144953

When we got close, there was a long ladder that made me hyperventilate because it went over a deep crevice. I panicked but got through it. While we were in between that ladder and the next one, it suddenly started hailing. We debated whether to continue or turn back, since everything started getting wet. I did not want to hyperventilate again, so we continued. The second ladder was not bad at all because it was a more narrow passageway, so you can lean on the rocks as you ascend up the ladder. After that, the “lemon squeeze” or “fat man’s misery” was the narrow space where we had to climb up (we had to take off our backpacks in order to fit), and also my favorite part of the hike!

 

20141107_150753

20141107_150806

2014-11-07 15.09.49

Victory!

20141107_151246

This was the crevice… I couldn’t even take a picture of it straight down without getting dizzy.

20141107_151225

This bridge led us to the Sky Top Tower.

 

20141107_152731

 

Go inside…

20141107_152127

I just love this picture, taken from inside the tower.

 

20141107_152720

We took in the view before heading back. The sun came out from the clouds and the air was crisp and fresh.

20141107_154156

20141107_154346

20141107_154427

20141107_154509

 

And don’t worry, there are restrooms at the start and at the mountain house.