Date: December 27th, 2015
Location: Bear Mountain & Harriman State Park, NY.
Adventure: Suffern Bear Mountain Trail, North to South, 23 miles, 6, 500 feet elevation gain.
My team bosses at Mountain Peak Fitness, the Azze's, mentioned this trail a while ago and it started to get some FKT attention not long after, with Ryan Witko posting a time of 5:35 and Chris Rice bringing it down to 5:23 (despite breaking his hand halfway through). I was thinking of attempting the FKT for this trail the weekend I ran the Devil’s Path if the conditions had not been suitable for a hard run in the Catskills. With this mild winter, the trails were still in great shape in Harriman for the holidays, so I set up a time to meet with Joe and Elizabeth, run the trail and talk shop. The SBM trail is a Hudson Valley classic at about 100 years old and one of the three long routes traversing Harriman & Bear Mountain State Parks (in addition to the Long Path and the Ramapo Dunderberg trail). These two parks have about 250 miles of marked trails, and another 100 miles of unmarked trails and woods roads. While it is listed at 23 miles, the actual length is probably somewhere between 24-25 miles. Much of the trail follows a major ridge overlooking the Hudson Valley. Despite being minutes from NYC and crossing a dense network of trails over the first half, this trail is quiet experience in the off-season.