|3" of snow on the red trail|
The run started from the trail-head with a somewhat intense but short climb (on the red trail) that then proceeds to undulate for about two miles before the real climbing begins.
|Snow clouds leaving the valley|
Milo and I enjoyed being the first to lay new footprints along the trail. We crossed over Baby Brook and the intersection of the Hudson Highlands and Jessup trail. Continuing to follow the red blazes past the next intersection with the white trail we continued on to the end of the red trail and onto the black trail.
|Climbing the white trail|
We continued with our forward progress and before too long the fresh three inches turned into 5 inches of snow still clinging to the trees and shrubs.
|The snow deepens|
We ran when we could and power-hiked through the more intense inclines and rocky scrambles.The landscape lost it's color and the surroundings turned to a black and white movie as we navigated the high-contrast landscape of snow and dormant trees.
Approaching one of the steeper inclines I paused for a moment to put on my Yak-Trax. I reviewed my map and gave Milo a handful of treats before we continued the final climb..
The trail, was now barely recognizable, and the snow was now at an estimated at eight inches.
Purely by memory from previous hikes/runs, we followed the now invisible path. We meandered briefly along the overlook before wandering into the scrub pines dotting the white landscape.
|Snowy Hudson Valley Vista|
At a snowy boulder I took a moment to check my map before climbing onto the icy crag. Watching my footing I realized I was already at the intersection of the Highland/Jessup Trails (Aqua/Yellow).
Milo and I turned north and proceed through the fresh snow following the Aqua/Yellow markings.
The landscape was white and the contours were lost.
|Jessup/Highland Trail Junction|
We slowly made our way along the conglomerate ridge until I realized Milo was nowhere to be found.
|Milo and snowy pitch pine|
I called and I couldn't see or hear him... I back tracked a little and found his tracks where he left the trail. I followed them for a few yards before I realized I the drifts were eight inches or more and the rugged underbrush was not going to let me pass.
As well prepared as I was for a run in the lower levels of the mountain, I wasn't dressed to stand in the deep snow or stand still in gusting winds for long.
"Milo! Milo! C'mon buddy..." I called and called for what seamed like fifteen minutes before I started to panic. I knew I had to get moving in order to protect myself from the elements. The wind was whipping and my core temperature was dropping but I couldn't rationalize leaving my dog on the mountain top.
|Like another world|
My wife agreed, she could hear the panic in my voice and said what I already knew... that I should work my way off the top of the mountain and hopefully Milo would catch up.
|Poor navigation and footing|
It was Milo's orange vest! He was on the trail about twenty-five yards away. He stood motionless as I approached. He was panting heavily and his tongue hung from his mouth as I approached him.
It was clear that he was exhausted... I checked him for injury and fortunately found none. I pulled out a handful of dog treats and fed him to restore some of his caloric-energy.
|A couple more downhill miles|
Anxious to warm myself and get off the wind-swept mountain I hurried him down the path. Our progress was slow as we trudged through the deep snow. We circled more than once looking for the trail obscured by the snowfall.
On track again, Milo followed behind, which he normally does when he's tired and hungry. We carefully made our way across the backbone and began our descent.
I cautiously made my way through the steep rocky portions and glided over the more gentle descents. We opted for the shorter route which we're more familiar with than taking the planned route which would take us up another scramble before descending to the parked car.
|View before the final descent|
We backtracked out way across the eastern side of Schunnemunk and eventually made our way back to the car.
Exhausted I hugged my dog, happy we were done (mentally and physically) we got into the car, put on the heater and headed for the warm comfort of home.
Distance: 7.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1,704 ft