The First Hike of the Ninja Explorer’s Club

Today I’m going to tell you all about the first event of the MFF Explorers Club!

Before we get into details of the hike that I led this past Sunday, here’s the backstory. Community is such a big part of what we do in MFF, and we’re a bit unlike your typical gym in that we focus on having fun and building friendships. Thing is, there’s only so much friendship you can focus on while swinging kettlebells and lifting weights. Eventually, we have to focus on the workout, right?

That means it’s nice to have other opportunities to get together, and so I thought of leading a Community Hike. My goal was to gather my beloved Ninjas around physical activity and in the great outdoors, so we could commune with nature and grow our communal bonds. I get myself outside every damn chance that I get, but let’s face it – that takes some work in NYC.

My goal for our inaugural hike was to make it easy to get together and explore a bit, so I planned for a day-trip up the Hudson River. Sure, we could have gone for a walk in Central or Prospect Parks, but this special event called for more adventure!

19 Ninjas and friends met at Grand Central Station and we took an 8:45am Metro-North train up to Cold Spring, NY. We walked to the Bull Hill trailhead, where our group began our journey.

Some of the Ninjas are avid outdoors people, while others were going on their first hike ever. It was really cool to see such a variety in backgrounds and experience levels, and our group seamlessly self-selected between two hike options:

The Bull Hill Full Loop is 5.5 miles and includes 1,394 feet of elevation gain, while the Bull Hill Short Loop is 4.3 miles with 1,131 feet of elevation gain.

The predicted durations for those two hikes are between 2 and 5 hours, and everyone finished their respective heights around the 3-hour mark, plus or minus 30 minutes.

If you haven’t checked out those hikes, I’d highly suggest them. Most of the elevation gain is in the first mile and a half, with a high average gradient that goes from a smooth incline to a number of steep rocky chutes.  They’d probably make for really good mountain biking, but that would be illegal.

As you gain elevation the views get better and better, and we stopped for lunch to eat on a rock with views that spanned the entire Hudson Valley. It was a beautiful and warm last day of Summer, but the best view I had all day happened right before lunch.

A few minutes before the Short Loop and Full Loop trails differentiate I heard footsteps behind me, and turned around to see Ninja Matt Dain running up the trail with a massive smile on his face. Matt’s morning alarm hadn’t worked, and when he woke up at 8:45am he realized he had missed the train. Committed to the adventure, he hopped in his car and drove up to Cold Spring. How cool is that?!

The second half of the hike was a slow meander back down the mountain and passed the ruins of the old Cornish Estate, which Ninja Keller counted to have like 10 fireplaces in it!

Our group got back into Cold Spring around 2:30 and rendezvoused with the Ninjas already there, who made stops at Moo Moo Ice Cream to cool off, and the General Store for some train beers.

As we sat down on the train and rested our feet, you could hear the cracking of cans throughout the train car. Amongst the suds sippers and Ninjas, I felt like I was truly with my people.

If there’s a chance you’re feeling down from spending days cramped inside hot subway cars under florescent lights, or know that winter will be here before you know it, it would be great to have you join us for a few hours of blue sky overhead.

Please follow along for details to join the next hike of the MFF Explorers Club. I’ll share updates here and on the @MFFClubhouse Instagram.

Thanks for joining me for this episode of HGTV. As always, you can watch a video over on Instagram!

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