Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tom Jones and Parker Cabin Mountain Brush Fire

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Victory Trail: Blue blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:25 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.2 Miles

Pros: Remote area in Harriman, Excellent Views
Cons: Damage from brush fire

Hiking Partner: Shimmy Rosenberg

Aside from the brush fires at Catamount and Panther Mountains in Harriman, I had heard that there was another large fire at Tom Jones Mountain. Shimmy and I drove up to see the area post fire and how extensive the burn area was. We took two cars; one car we left at the R-D Trailhead by Tom Jones, and the other we left down the road at the Victory Trail trailhead, where we started the hike.

While driving up, we noticed the burn zone starting right before the the R-D Trailhead. The area looked pretty extensive and went all the way to the next trailhead by the Victory Trail. The fires did not appear to cross the road. The burn zone was very extensive - it covered the area from the road all the way to the second Parker Cabin Mountain view, as well as all of Tom Jones mountain. The damage was very extensive, with much of the lower brush, such as huckleberries and ferns, burnt up. Much of the mountain laurel forest was also affected, though I did notice moisture in many of the burnt plants. Some larger trees were felled by the fire, but for the most part their bottoms were burnt but they survived the fire.

We started the hike at the Victory Trail, walked through the burnt mountain laurel forest, and then took the R-D Trail as it ascends up Parker Cabin Mountain. We went up to the second view atop Parker Cabin Mountain before turning around. We went back along the R-D Trail, and cut across slightly on a bushwack shortcut back to the notch where the R-D Trail meets the Victory Trail. We then took the R-D Trail up Tom Jones Mountain, over the hump of the mountain, and then down to the trailhead.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lake Skanatati Thanksgiving Stroll

Harriman State Park
Orange County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 0:25 hours
Estimated Distance: 1.1 miles (roundtrip)
Level of Difficulty: Very easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for a short but pretty walk in the woods
Points Of Interest: Pretty Path alongside lake
Pros: Very relaxing walk in the woods
Cons: None

I was going to be traveling over Thanksgiving, so wanted to get a quick hike in before I left. I heard there was still snow in the higher elevations, so wanted to do a walk where I could still see some of the snow. I decided to go to Lake Skanatati and walk along the Long Path until it crosses the Pine Swamp Brook. I parked at the lake parking area, went along the path the stream, and then turned around and went back the same way. The pictures below were taken with my cell phone camera, as I didn't have my regular camera with me.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Catamount Mountain Fire Zone Early Season Snow

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze
Suffern-Bear Mountain (SBM) Trail: Yellow blaze
Sherwood Path: Unblazed

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles

Pros: Excellent view, quiet area

Hiking Partner: Shimmy Rosenberg and members of Chaverim/CommSAR search and rescue

This hike was with a group of CommSAR members, as part of active Search and Rescue hike training program. I led the group at the area where the fire was during the previous week at Catamount Mountain. I wanted to see the damage caused by the fire, and figured we would all go as a group. What totally surprised us was the amount of snow at the top of the mountain. On the bottom when we started, there was just a slushy trace, but as we ascended higher the snow cover got thicker, and at the top there was about 4-5 inches of heavy, wet snow! We couldn't really see the damage as everything was fully covered in snow, though we were able to see some downed trees, large burnt logs, and large tress partially burned at the bottom.

We started at the Pine Meadow Trail traihead at the Ramapo Equestrian Center. We took the Pine Meadow Trail up the mountain through the notch, and then merged together with the SBM Trail southbound up Catamount Mountain. After the split of the Pine Meadow and SBM Trail, continued on the SMB trail to the view.

In all my history of hiking, I have rarely seen such incredible scenery in the area. With the visible snow line contrasting two different worlds, of snowy mountains and non-snowy suburbia, with the Manhattan skyline in the distance, the view was epic. We continued along the SBM to the Stone Memorial Shelter, and then took the Pittsboro Hollow Trail down the mountain. We then took the gas line route back all the way to the Equestrian Center, and back on the Pine Meadow Trail for a very short distance, and then back to our cars.