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.

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