Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Trail Blazers in the Field

Palmer Lake

In planning my schemes to explore the steep slopes above Palmer Lake, I anticipated having to navigate through some cliffy areas with forest as well as some undesirable vegetation patches. Instead of locking in on a specific route I started up the slope in the hopes that previous trail blazers would have created paths for me once I got near some of the tight spots.

I was not disappointed. After a steep scramble I found a well worn path cutting across the slope.

Some of the paths even had some nap sites.

These paths were blazed by a combination of herbivores. I suspect one set was developed by cattle. Another set was developed by deer. I flushed a few of them from their day time naps sites. The deer tracts and cattle tracts or combinations of both were pretty good at getting me through some cliffy areas; however, they tend to fade and spread into hard to trace routes when the slope opened up. The bighorn sheep tracts were useful, but they faded on rocky areas and some of the tracts tested my comfort with exposure.

But all together I appreciated all the trail blazing that got me past some cliff areas that I would otherwise may have been flummoxed by.   

1 comment:

susan said...

Years ago I worked for a National Forest locating original GLO bearing trees, stones, mounds, and early brass caps. The Forest was in the process of re-surveying its boundaries, some of which had not been re-surveyed since they were first set in the 1880s. We’d find the corners and mark them for the contract surveyors who would come along later and survey the lines and set new caps. We used GLO notes to help guide us, as one of us dragged a chain and the other yelled out slope using a clinometer as an aide. That's when I started to really curse white man's desire to lay out land in grids—slope and geomorphic features be damned. We had to traverse, as best we could, in straight lines bearing cardinal points, north, south, east, and west. Straight up or down or sideways. Trying to follow the original survey boundaries of townships and sections. On our way up and through dense forest or dog-hair thickets, we'd cross the ever-so reasonably pitched game trails that coursed through the woods or across talus slopes. I'd wistfully gaze at those beautiful organic trails and then really start muttering and swearing. Onward with that chain! 73%! How stoooopid is man! Imposing square areas on scarps … Sheesh. Metes and bounds. That’s the ticket!