The weather forecast during Father’s Day weekend was just awful. For once, though, the forecast was wrong. It was hot and overcast, but no lightning and no serious rain. I’d expressed my concern that I haven’t gotten enough uphill training to my sweetie and, being a solution-oriented engineer type, he suggested we find a hike where he could drop me off at the bottom of a long hill, then meet me at the top to drive back and do it again without the “break” of walking all the way back down. Bear Mountain would be especially good for this type of thing, but it’s too far away for the time frame we had. The only nearby hill I could think of like that is Shaupeneak Ridge. So that’s where we headed on Saturday afternoon.
The White Trail in Scenic Hudson’s Shaupeneak Ridge Cooperative Recreation Area is only 1.63 miles long with an average grade of 8%. On this trail, as in the Grand Canyon, as in life, averages can be deceiving. The middle mile averages about 12%. Still not quite up to Bright Angel Trail inclines, but it gets the heart pounding. I hadn’t been back since early spring, and with all the rain we’ve had this year the trees and undergrowth are leafy and green and lush as heck.
I’d done this trail before so I was prepared (and fed) for the steep bits. I skipped the 0.2 mile side trail to the little waterfall, but I did take a little rest to soak my hat in the creek at a second waterfall a bit further up the White Trail. On my first trip, it took me about 45 minutes to complete the White Trail, then another 10 minutes for the 0.6 flat mile west on the Red Trail to the upper parking area, where my sweetie waited to squire me back to the bottom of the hill. It was a balmy 93° and muggy, and I’d dumped a bunch of water on my head, so I was soaked by the time I got there. We zipped down Poppletown Road to the lower lot, where he dropped me off and watched me tromp off into the woods (he also snapped the pic at the very top of this post), then presumably zipped back to the top. My pace was the same the second time up–actually, it was nominally faster–and if I hadn’t had some surprise biological interference I would have been more than game to go again. Alas, it was not meant to be that day.
I was even sweatier the second time I climbed into my sweetie’s car. I worried about getting his nice seats all yucky, so I made an impervious barrier with my rain jacket before I sat down. Despite the heat of the day, as soon as the vented air hit me I was actually cold. I had to close the vents when the air conditioning got going. It might seem gross to some, but I’m a-ok with getting really sweaty while out on a hot day. It means my body is doing its job.
I wish I’d had a chance to do this hike three times in a row, but twice is definitely better than nothing. I probably won’t be back to to Shaupeneak Ridge again until the fall, when the changing leaves will bring some new interest to the trails.
Length: 4.6 miles
Total Elevation Gain: ~1400 ft
Hiking Time: 2 hours
Training Grade: B
Enjoyment Grade: B-