OUT

So in December we had quite a nice series of snowstorms. All in all, here in our neighborhood we got between 18 and 20 inches. And then it got COLD. So all that snow settled in for the long haul. I couldn’t get my car down the lane for over two weeks. The only time I went outside was to haul in wood for the fire or to shovel snow.

What this situation brought home to me in a very big way was how often, under normal circumstances, I go outside. I might just step out onto the front porch to see what’s going on. Bare feet, no coat, because I’m just out there for a minute to test the air, see the clouds… or lack of them, feel the temperature, listen for birds, take a look for turkeys that might need chasing out of the yard…. you know…. nosey outdoor things. Well with all that ice and snow on the ground don’t you know that THAT particular activity came to a screeching halt. And after a few days of that I realized how much I need to go OUT!

I was joking with someone recently how much a part of me this is. Once when I was on a particularly long leg of a cross country flight, I realized how fidgety I was getting and how badly I needed to get up out of that seat. My unconscious mind spilled over into a conscious thought that said… “I just need to step outside for a few minutes.”

Really? At 30,000 feet?

But there it was. A fully formed, fully irrational thought.

Anyway, that brings us to the topic for today. While I was housebound and OUT deprived, I developed a very serious desire to do something epic when I could get back to ‘normal’ with my need for the outdoors. And what you are going to see is the result.

I wanted to create a place right here on Mr. P’s property, that I could get a good… ‘striding out’ walk. I have become really tired of walking on the road down at the end of the lane, and I’m not too fond of walking far up in the woods now that I don’t have a dog. There are mountain lions up there. And the occasional bear. Yeah. That.

So I took a look at the area on the other side of the ice pond and realized that it would do. But it was going to need some major bush whacking [literally] and trail work. It took me a few weeks of lopping limbs, clearing debris, digging rocks out of the path, sawing bigger limbs, hauling limbs off to be dumped elsewhere, and a boatload of raking leaves and pine needles to make a clear trail.

I also had to go to my neighbor’s and ask permission to go across the upper corner of their property because theirs was the only place to get across the gully to the other side in a way that didn’t make me very nervous about my ankle which has a propensity for breaking… just for fun. So let’s go for a walk on my …. oh yeah…. I gave it a name…. Heartwood Trail.

(So predictable.)

I am aiming for as much distance as I could get, so I added a walk through the field just by the house:

Then I reach the lane right by my garden and follow it down to the next field:

Now we come to the neighbor’s fence. It’s kept open for the deer to pass through easily. Notice the bush I had to saw off. It was blocking the way pretty effectively.

I dug myself some steps …

Now we go up the hill that leads to the meadow eventually.

There is a fence at the top of their property that the deer have messed with over the years. I laid an old throw over it so when I step over, I will not get my feet or clothes caught in the tangle of wires.

There is a huge old dead manzanita bush that was totally in the way. Mr. P took his chainsaw over there and cut an opening for me.

There was an area that had a bunch of old broken bricks that needed dug up, so I put them along side the path.

After meandering around another section, we come to the meadow where I was always trying to make a ‘campsite’.

The above picture is an open spot that has a nice pine tree to sit under if I ever feel like it, but in the foreground there used to be a terrible messy old dead bush with a bunch of leaves and stuff all around it. I pulled it all up and raked it onto a big tarp and hauled the whole mess up the hill. I now have some bare dirt that I just know I’m going to try to grow something in. I’m hopeless.

Off to the side of this area was a partial path that goes around to my little campsite. But it was blocked with a lot of dead buckbrush. I spent a lot of energy clearing it out so I could walk right through.

I didn’t take photos of the next section [I felt like I was getting too many!] But then we head down the hill to the very top of the ice pond.

And then we cross the ‘creek’ which only runs when we have active rain for several days. This is one of two that fill the ice pond. Mr. P gave me a plank that he sawed off a tree with his Alaskan Sawmill.

The trail then goes around to enter the ice pond proper.

And here it is… one of the last places that still has snow because it is shady AND the lowest spot. It stays COLD down here!

And finally we go up out of the ice pond right by the chicken yard.

If I walk this path and then add a half loop through the wooded part again, I get in a mile walk.

I have to tell you, I don’t think I have ever indulged my obsessive compulsive tendencies as assiduously as I have on this project. I STILL have things I want to work on to make it more aesthetically pleasing and as ‘trip proof’ as is possible. I wore myself out on several occasions and fretted when it was raining or too cold to work on it. But the main part is finished. And thank goodness. Now I can focus on walking on it and not WORKING on it! 🙂

Thanks for coming along.