Today we scouted out the Breakneck Point Trail Marathon and 25k course in Hudson Highlands State Park, NY. Julian and I wanted to see if it would be feasible for the MPF RNR Trail Team to do the marathon course this weekend but we knew that the conditions were going to be tough and slow going.
The trail conditions were a mix of pounded down trail to breaking trail 2 feet deep. Due to the recent snows and todays windy conditions, some of the trail that may have been broken in early in the week, needed to be re-broken.
The first sign that the conditions of the middle section of the race course were less than ideal for fast moving was when we tried to park at the Settlement camp, the parking area had not been plowed. We opted to start at Breakneck trail head (section 2, 5.6 miles into the course).
Today's temps were well below zero with the wind chill, being very windy on the exposed sessions of the course. I started with a lightweight down jacket, windstopper fleece, 2 long sleeve layers underneath, balaclava, knee high gaiter, Gore Tex high top running shoes (Salomon), gloves with mittens packed and Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultras. (more on gear)
The ascent up Breakneck was packed down with little icy sections, very cold and exposed but the trail was in good condition. Right on to Yellow Undercliff, the trail was blown in for a little while then turned into awesome running all the way to the top of White (Washburn Trail).
As soon as we took a left back onto the Yellow (undercliff), we were breaking trail again, post holing until we got to the Blue Cornish Trail. The Blue Cornish trail was traveled but not as much as the beginning. Just Past the ruins aid station, once approaching the top of the blue, the trail disappeared again and it was back to post holing. Definitely not well travelled back to the settlement camp..
From experience I know that Section 4 will be 50/50 broken in... 4.3 miles up and down Mt. Beacon will be in great condition. The gist of the story is that the middle section is a mess, I even wished I had my snowshoes in some areas. 3 to 4.5 mph average in these conditions at best.
Adventure safely this weekend and be sure to head out prepared.