Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Trail in the Woods

What I had offered to help with at Hope Haven (see yesterday's post) was to extend their trail in the woods so it could be a longer trail.  I had walked through the existing trail with the staff and then returned in late September to flag a possible extension, almost to the back of the farm.  In the meantime, they have done a lot of work!

The trail starts down an old farm lane leading off from the buildings to the west.  I always like to find tree-lined laneways like this on farms around here.

There were a lot of stone fences too, this one lining the lane - just wait til you see them all.  This was a low but very straight pile of stones, now increasingly overgrown with Virginia Creeper vines and shrubs.

Once I got into the woods, I followed the old tractor trail.  In low spots the tractor had left recent tread marks, marked by a bit of ice from recent puddles after the rain.

And the little bits of ice had some neat frozen bubbles in them that I thought made a nice pattern.

There was one small pond in the woods, right beside the trail, and  I was told it is quite deep.  Is this picture enough reason to join 'Weekend Reflections'?

And there were lots of bulrushes around the edge.  I liked this group, almost in a straight line.

The woods in December can be pretty dull, if it isn't already white, so I was determined to look for little bits of colour, like this bright green moss.

And this bright green woodfern, Spinulose Woodfern to be specific.

The trail we're talking about is a wide, smooth tractor trail.  When walking disabled riders, one person normally leads the horse, while two other volunteers walk on either side of the horse and rider.  This is not just your average canter through the woods!  So we're looking for a good wide, and preferably fairly level trail.

This is the point at which I had started flagging a trail through the dense saplings, leaving bright orange flagging tape behind me, like that on the left.  I tried to pick a route that avoided cutting any large trees, and was relatively smooth.  When I last saw this, trees and all the young saplings were still in green leaves, and I had to push my way through.  They have had both staff and a volunteer work party clearing the trail since, and it's about 2/3rds done.  They've done a great job!

Of course this isn't the time of year to see the trail at its best, but it is the time of year to work on trails like this, when you can easily see through the woods.  They're lucky there isn't much snow yet, which would stop work on the trail.   More on the rest of what I saw tomorrow.


Walking time with the dog = 45 minutes.

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  1. I looked at those ice bubbles and thought they were buttons. Your pictures are wonderful. I really enjoyed looking at this project in progress. :-)

  2. I like those ice bubbles - cool picture!
    The trail between the trees looks inviting.
    This is the time of year that it is best to work on the HT trails too. Amazing how the woods thin out in winter!!

  3. I've helped our friend John reclaim overgrown logging roads to reactivate them for quads. It's amazing to see how fast a few big guys can clear a narrow path with just a hint of an old road to guide them. I was interested in what you said about taking disabled people on rides through the forest trails. We have a therapeutic riding association in town, but I believe all of the riding is done in their arena. We do have a group that uses a "trail rider chair" that can be used to take people with disabilities on hiking trails. . You mentioned on my blog about meeting Chris Czajkowski on a book tour. She was near on Vancouver Island, but with the ferries it's almost like a world away. I'd love to meet her in person some day. - Margy

  4. Having helped out with riding for the disabled on many occasions, I applaud the work. A good wide trail is essential if you're going to do it safely.

  5. The icy bubbles are beautiful and I love the moss and the fern leaf.

  6. You're doing some good work on that farm.

  7. Lovely photos . interesting ice with bubbles in it ! Looks and sounds liker you had a fun adventure marking and searching for trails for them ! . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

  8. Those are all wonderful photos, thanks for sharing!

  9. Love the bubble effect on that ice. Wonderful shots!

  10. Without a doubt you are sans pareil when it comes to taking the most mundane subjects and turning them into an interesting discourse.

  11. What a rich and lovely project! Thanks for keeping this kind of area alive for those of us who love the outdoors.

  12. Country trails like this are the best! My grandparents had one through their 50 acre sugar bush and we would walk, ride or even sleigh ride every Christmas Day. Actual jingle bells on the horses. My aunt also has a fantastic trail ride through her woods, and it takes you past sheep in the meadow, horses in the field, the sugar maple cabin and a pond. A great way to spend a day.

  13. Pretty shots... though we do need snow!