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Monday, April 13, 2009

Land Trust Scouting Hike

We had a small group just Christie, Dorothy and myself. I picked up Mary Jane and we were met at the trailhead by Francine - the owner of the spring - she was invaluable because she has a such a great knowledge of the hollow. I brought my GPS and a camera that geotags photos as well as some survey tape to mark out the trail as we got lower into the hollow.

We encountered some storm damage on the upper trail - a very tall white oak fell across the trail and took a smaller oak with it. Since we did not bring heavy tools - we moved what we could lift and moved on down. Francie had already been to the spring that morning and said there were some similar blockages on the road to the spring.

At the Volvo we took the lower trail and we encountered one very large tangle on the trail. The basic trail looks like an old logging road until you get down to the place where it intersects with the creekbed. At that point it looks like the best course is to stay on the side of the creek and to cut through some buck brush and smaller vines. Up to this point it is only clearing - so this is where we started using the surveyors tape to mark out paths as we turn. Mary Jane sent us ahead to help choose the path down to the deer pond and the horseshoe falls - both of these features should be a short side loop on the trail and are on a limestone bed - lots of very large vines and roc formations - I think this could be a nice picnic spot and we should probably leave it as natural as possible.

We mapped the trails to slowly climb up to the bench level on the other side of the hollow working our ways up and finding areas where you can walk up and not have to scale the bench. Mary Jane told us that it was important to make sure the path lead by good places to sit and take in the sites while you take a break. Near the top we crossed an area where the highline has been cut trough - I have been there once before to spread wildflower seeds and I'm sure Mary Jane would like us to do more of that of if we can. 

Shortly after we crossed the highline we saw the bench line below the pivot rock trail. We worked out way up to the trail and intersected right near the large cedar in the rock formation before you get to the pivot rock. There is some tree damage there so we went over to the pivot rock to check it out. The tall cedar behind it has come down - but appears to still be alive. I think it will have to stay there because of the amount of ground and rock that came up with it.

WIth that we went back to the trail head on the pivot rock trail. There were 2 treefalls to clean up there.

I was not sure where Mary Jane planned to take us but I think it's very neat to have 2 options to get to the pivot rock - one more level and one more challenging. Plus it's a loop - between 2.5 and 3 miles.

I'm looking forward to showing you all the bottom of the hollow - and I hope we can schedule a work day to repair the upper trail.

The photos I took were taken with my phone and were planned just for geotagging - they are not great pics but I had my hands full with survey tape, GPS, and camera phone.