Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fire on the Appalachian Trail Near Vermont Border

The end of April a fire, most likely started by a hiker, burned over 200 acres of the forest floor in the Clarksburg State Forest in North Adams. The AT crosses some of the damaged area. I had planned a hike along this section of the trail for that weekend. I wanted to see if the hike was possible so I went to North Adams to investigate.

There was a line of smoke on the mountain.
 It looked bad to me and I didn't want to hike in smoke, so we changed the hike location to Mount Greylock. The fire fighters told me that the terrain made it very difficult for them to contain the fire. It took a couple of days to get it under control.

Three weeks later, some friends and I hiked from Rte. 2 up to the Vermont border on the Appalachia Trail and returned via the Pine Cobble Trail. We found fire damage was limited to the leaves and downed trees and limbs. Although the top leaves on the forest floor were dry, the rest of the forest material was damp and did not burn. Most trees were unharmed and spring plants and flowers were coming up through the black ashes. My guess is that in a few months you would never know there had been a fire unless you were specifically looking for the evidence.

We headed north on the AT along Sherman Brook.
When we got near the campground, we started seeing charred leaves.
New green leaves were appearing right through the ashes.
This birch tree is the only tree that we saw that was significantly damaged.
Soon the fire damaged ended and we walked over white bedrock.
At our lunch spot, we met two brothers from Baltimore section hiking the AT.
Janice used their camera to take their photo. 
Our turn-around point was the Vermont border.
Here the Long Trail begins. It runs along with the AT
 until the AT veers east into New Hampshire
and the Long Trail continues to Canada.
The azalea blossoms were a beautiful deep pink
and had a strong spicy-sweet smell.
Pine Cobble had several viewpoints south toward Williamstown.

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