I literally cleared a trail yesterday. One good part of these Corona Virus times is I've gotten in the habit of walking and running. My wife and I will walk 100 yards then run 100 or 200 yards, then walk some more. We've found great unpaved trails where we can do our daily 3 miles and only see four or five people the whole way. But this morning, we took a regular trail, one we've walked-ran many times. And after about six tenths of a mile we were stopped by a massive tree that was covering at least 20 feet of the trail. We had to walk off the trail into the weeds.. and I am really sensitive to poison ivy.
A lot of people use the trail-- families, biker riders, runners, walkers, people going fishing, lovers. And the tree was really blocking the road. Some people were going to just turn around.
I finished. my run, went home and started thinking that I could do something about this. I could use one of my saws and cut at least some of the branches. So I went to the garage and lo and behold, I couldn't find a single saw. Over the years I've had a lot of saws. Some were my fathers and maybe even his carpenter father's tools. But over the years and the moves I'd made the saws were lost.
I could buy a saw. I looked on line and figured out that a bow saw would work best, in terms of cutting branches and carrying it six or seven tenths of a mile into the woods.
I checked out prices at a chain store but went to my local hardware store-- one that's been there at least 50 years. The price was the same too, though I'd anticipated spending more. I also found a part for my used Sears power mower. They made it really easy. I'd have had to walk a quarter mile through aisles and aisles to find that part, if I'd find it at all, at the box store.
So I took the saw and walked into the park and started running too, doing my same old-- walk -run thing. I wondered if anyone else or the park people had done anything. But I've never seen a sign that park employees even go on these un-pave, unpruned trails.
I got to the tree. It was just as we'd left it. Here's the view from the other side of where the trail was blocked.
I got to work, pulling at branches to see what was loose. There were a real lot of finger thick vines throughout the tree, kind of holding it together, even after its fall. It made me think of how they were interdependent. They probably have some symbiotic relationship.
I cut branches that were huge into manageable sizes I could drag from the big pile, Many of them were still 20 feet long, but I could pull them out and then put them on the sides of the trail. After doing it a while I was having to drag them thirty or fifty feet to get to clear spots on the trail where I could dump them. Some of the branches had broken off without leaves. I tossed them like spears.
I started to make some progress. Here you can see that I've removed the upper layer for another four or five feet of the tree.
I kept cutting away, first at the smaller, easier to cut branches, and a lot of vines with diameters the size of a dime or penny. Here, I cut one of the bigger branches-- about four inches in diameter. I cut it about a foot back from the trail.
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