I bet y'all were hoping I forgot and moved on to blogging about other things.
Well no such luck!
OK. For those lucky enough to miss out on the previous two parts of this tour, we're wandering the trails I've cut on our 14 acre property.
Their use is roughly equally split between my workout laps 3 or 4 mornings a week while carrying a 15 pound pack and more civilized rambles where I get to just enjoy being out in the woods
where, in our case, pretty much nothing is flat because of the three ridges (red) and the two waterways (blue) that we are blessed with.
To recap, this is an image of my trail map stripped down so the numbers are easy to see. The numbers, which are repeated as the caption of the corresponding images below, give you a rough idea of just where I was standing when each photo was taken.
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When we - OK - When I - left off last time I was about to duck through this vegetation-tunnel about midway across the dam and slip onto the back, the western end, of the property.
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Just after crossing the earth dam I have this 4-way intersection mowed into the vegetation, again, mowed to cut back on the number of burrs I pick up when wading through during more lush times. In fact, if you look close at the ridge/waterway image above (second one of this post) about a quarter of the way up from the bottom and just a smidge to the right of center, you can actually see this intersection in the satellite image.
For me, down here on the ground and approaching from the dam side, turning left, or south, and then going a short ways takes me close to the south fence-line where the trail turns west again.
Going right, or north, I walk the length of the pond before re-entering the woods and arcing west near the north fence-line.
If I go straight like I usually do, which is what I'm going to do right now, I go west up the middle of the property. This requires climbing the steepest incline on the trail-system to get to the top of the middle ridge.
You can see a little piece of the trail I'm about to walk winding around a little more than halfway up near the right side of the photo.
|- 17 -|
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OK Back to the trail!
Not far from the 4-way intersection that middle trail is like climbing stairs without the steps. - In other words, pretty much like climbing a ramp strewn with marbley-like gravel turning it into a slip-n-slide. But one with dire consequences if you do slip - and slide!
And when I turn that corner up ahead -
|- 19 -|
Nope! Not done climbing yet! (trail goes between the two trees in the distance, one leaning and the other, even more distant, straight up as if supporting the first.)
|- 20 -|
So up around that next bend and -
Oh come on! Are you kidding me?!
Where's the damn top?
I hit this climb near the beginning of my workout laps and it's a good wake-up call for my legs. Lets them know we mean business.
- - - and feel the burn - - -
And to be honest, it's my own fault. On the other climbs/descents I threw in some small switchbacks to ease things up a little, but with this segment I purposely went pretty much straight up one side of the ridge and straight down the other to take advantage of the challenge. (According to the GPS the average grade over the entirety of my trail system is 5%)
|- 21 -|
Sometimes there are distractions along the way.
There used to be an antler-shed, just the one side - I have never spotted the other side - laying in this part of the trail. It started higher and for years it slowly wandered it's way down-slope. Sometimes staying put for months at a time before continuing it's journey. Apparently it found the trail to be easy wanderings because it stuck pretty close all those years. But I haven't seen it for a long time now so - good journey my friend.
In it's place today, perhaps as a sympathy card, was this vulture feather. Not an uncommon sight out here in these woods. Mom gets a kick out of hearing the birds when I'm on the phone with her (outside as always) but she's never heard one of these Black Vultures, who make no sound other than a raspy hiss and then only if you try to take their food away. Which I don't!
Maybe if I collect enough of these feathers I can finally fulfill that 8 year old's dream and jump off the roof and fly!
No?? Too stupid?
OK. Perhaps I better just leave it lay there and let nature do what it does.
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So, I'll do the least stupid thing here and continue on, where eventually I make it to the large oak that marks the summit of the ridge. (It looks like this oak might succumb to the current drought.)
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(I know, another crappy photo courtesy of my phone-camera.)