Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trail is Marked

We spent the day hiking through the trees with GPS in one hand marker paint and trail tape in the other. It's nearly impossible to actually walk or mark in a completely straight line, especially since the GPS is not entirely accurate, but I'd say we have a reasonably straight line clearly marked to our center point now. We also brought a lot of tree bits back with us in our shirts and pockets since we just bulled our way through the thickest parts rather than going around as usual -- which necessitated much hacking away with survival knife to leave a clear line of sight to the last marker.

One thing is for sure, this boreal forest is nothing like the east coast hardwood forests where there is lots of open space in the understory and very little brush... everything here is jam-packed together creating an almost impenetrable wall of wood except the few places that falling trees and large animals have already beaten down a path of sorts. The more easterly we head, the bigger and denser the trees get until we hit that little clearing area near the center marker. We tried to do the string trick to make a straight line, but that was not even going to happen as it got snagged, hung up, twisted around etc. So we ended up leap-frogging from point to point, one person beating their way through the brush until we were in line again, then the other one hacking, spraying, and taping until we caught up.

We we started out, it was bright and sunny with a few clouds; that lasted until we were really in the thick of things and then the clouds rolled in and it started to snow. We did manage to get to the center and then back out to the tent before it started snowing hard though. Have to be careful with the weather the way it is because it's really easy to get mild hypothermia since it feels warmer than it really is, and if/when the weather turns with snow or rain you can get chilled really fast. You know you're getting cold, tired and low on blood sugar when you starting yelling at each other over the stupidest crap... sometimes you don't even realize that it's creeping up on you.

We did find LOTS of moose poop back there, and what appears to be a well-used bedding area... so we're going to be extra careful so as not to surprise Momma and her calf.  Also seeing fresh chew marks on the base of the alders and fresh scat, so the porcupines are definitely out and about. Running into the occasional fresh bear sign - scat and claw scrapes, although no identifiable tracks since the snow is melting too fast.  Something big got Ripley's attention last night and spent a good 10 minutes barking her best "My house, go away" warning from the deck. It was just the wrong light for us to see anything, so it could have been a moose or a bear; but definitely something big enough to really get Ripster agitated. Most times she just chuffs and woofs a bit when it's something smaller like coyotes and foxes.

But anyway, now that the trail is marked through, we can start working at it from both ends to meet in the middle. It tends to work better that way so we aren't on top of each other and risking life and limb dropping a tree on the other person. Of course it does mean that Ripley has to run back and forth the 500' between us, but she's young and full of energy (it's really our secret plan to exhaust her LOL). We will, of course, each have a weapon nearby and our walkies if we're out and separated... no sense throwing caution to the wind just because we want to finish faster. Safety First!


Sam.... said...

Time for someone to leave you a comment so that you know we continue to follow your adventures! It's good to see you posting - it means you're both still alive. At least PlicketyCat is - not sure if she's done Mark in or not! ;-)

Plickety Cat said...

hahahaha - of course he's still alive, there's even pics of him in the last post. Now, just to mess with your head, maybe he's done *me* in, set up the camera on timer, and is now impersonating me online... :-O

Anonymous said...

Slow, steady, and plenty of patience. You will get her done, sooner or later. Trail cutting is much harder than most would think.