Sunday, February 8, 2009

Smokey Says...

Remember, Only YOU can prevent forest fires!

Orak Ruin

Just a small day hike today, just to get out and play in the nice weather. We started out in Harriman State Park on route 106 at an unmarked parking area (more like a pull-off), you will see yellow-blazes on the guardrails and trees. Using the NY/NJ Trail Conference map 118, we headed up the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain trail on the same side as the parking area. What a great little hike! No rocks! Mountain laurel! Nice (this time of year with no leaves) views! In less than 30 minutes you will hike to the Orak Ruin. The ruin, as the story goes, was formerly the mansion owned by George Briggs Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan was the V.P. of Corn Products Refining Co. (the makers of Karo syrup). He named his estate Orak (Karo backwards) and seemed to be a quirky fella. When he built his dining room, he designed the floor to move like a ship's cabin, he even added portholes for windows. I'd give anything to go back in time to the 1920's, all the strange history seems to come from that era. We played there for a while, a lot of the foundation is still standing, but watch your step, there are a lot of old pieces of metal laying around. Back on the trail, where at times you can view the Hudson River, it's just a short hike to a fire tower. Now (this is where my love for Sterling Forest comes in), unlike the Sterling Forest fire tower, you can't get near this one. But, boy! is it big! After staring in awe of its size, we just followed the fire tower road back down the mountain until we met up with the yellow-blazed trail again. Retracing the trail back down, we stopped once again to play in the ruins, but this time, some small cabins across from the Orak ruin. Then we followed the trail back to the road, but now we crossed the road and followed the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain trail the other way toward the "Irish Potato". Again, a very relaxing, easy hike. Just follow the yellow-blazed trail as it ascends Irish Mountain. At the summit, you will find the largest boulder you have ever seen, this is the Irish Potato. It's more impressive when you take a picture of someone standing next to it for proportion. After playing with the rock tripe on the boulder, we headed back down, following the yellow-blazed trail back to the car. Not a big hike, but I didn't break any bones, and in my book, that's always a good day.