slow rain of new sticks
Tuesday, March 11 2008
I had the bow saw with me this morning as I executed one of the biggest possible forest loops with the dogs. Recent winds had given me some work to do clearing the trail. When I have a saw, though, I tend to do additional things like cutting down dead trees along the trail and use their trunks to better define it. The age of the Stick Trail is now approaching five years, and some of the original sticks marking its edge have begun to disappear, either beneath leaves or from having rotted away to dirt. Generally this hasn't been a problem, since there's a slow rain of new sticks that I am forced to position in their place, but today I noticed that real gaps have emerged in a few places, particularly along the Mountain Goat Trail (which is only about three years old). When defining trail margins in such places, it's much easier to fell dead trees near the trail than to drag sticks in from elsewhere. The sticks actually serve an important function where the trail moves near-parallel to contours on a steep slope (as is the case on the Mountain Goat Trail). The sticks act to catch leaves, soil, and stones eroding downhill (perpendicular to the contour), thereby stabilizing the trail and allowing it to grow wider than would otherwise be possible.
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