Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Stiles and Streams

Last week I and one of the Bruce Trail's dedicated Trail Captains and Land Stewards went out to inspect a property.  It was a good time to go, because this property, which is former pasture, is a jungle of 4 foot tall grass by mid-summer.  But now you can walk across it easily.  And it was a beautiful sunny crisp April day.

As an old pasture, this property originally had good fences around the edge, so there are two stiles you get to climb.

But before you even get there, you cross a branch of Indian Brook on this volunteer-built bridge.  It's a nice clear stream, seeping down from the limestone layers above.

There are lots of old fencerows of maple trees around the edge, where fences have just fallen down.  I think the cattle grazed right through the fencerow.

There's also a remnant of an old orchard.

And a little patch of Bulrush swale on the slope of the open field.

In the back corner there's another tiny wetland, that generates a small stream the trail needs to cross.  Here it's a stepping stone bridge.

We followed an old woods road down to Indian Brook, and found these nice little water trickles over the bedrock ledges.

Here the trail is just a path on the edge of the old pasture, but this calls for heavy work with a weed whipper later on in the summer to keep the trail clear.

There a deep ravine along the brook though, so we climbed another stile to get down and check the trail there.

And found these downed trees, which we reported to the chain saw crew.  They had them out of the way in 24 hours!  Notice the long curved sapling, caught under one of the fallen trees.  That's one of the most dangerous things in logging, because it can snap back if it's released and do serious injury.  My grandfather was injured by a sapling like that, walked with a limp the rest of his life, and had to give up the farm, taking over the nearby general store where my dad grew up.

We even did a bit of trail work when we were out there, putting down a very short boardwalk over a muddy stretch.

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  1. Such a great day to do something you enjoy!

  2. Fun to see stiles in use! My grandpa used to have one that went from one pasture to I am always intrigued by them:)

  3. I've climbed a few stiles like that, nowadays using the turn-around-at-the-top-and go-down-backwards method rather than the take-one-step-down-and-jump-for-it strategy that I used till I got my trouser leg caught at the top one day. Ouch!

  4. Hello, looks like a nice walk. We have a club here that volunteers to clean up the trails and maintain them. They do great work. Great post and photos. Enjoy your day!

  5. I don't think I have climbed over a stile in ages, but you brought back memories for me. I know about those saplings being dangerous. When I hike in heavy snow, you can see them bent under the snow, ready for release in much the same way. :-)

  6. aww. the story of your grandfather is sad. nice trail and love the stiles!

  7. I find myself wondering if the remaining trees of that orchard are still productive- even though odds are the only ones getting any of the fruit these days would be wildlife.

  8. Looks like another beautiful day! Glad to see your woods reawakening from their winter slumber.

  9. great pics...nice to see people maintaining those trails!!! such a cute little bridge over the brook!!!!

  10. A great area to visit and take a stroll.

  11. I remember landing at a remote airport in Oregon. We went for a walk and had to climb a style to get out of the airport property. I'm not sure why the fence was was there, maybe for cows, because the fence was too low to keep out deer. - Margy

  12. What a neat little journey through this area. I think it would be fun to climb over the stile.