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Cedar Fire 2003


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After the fire when the entire property was denuded of growth, we could see bare dirt on the entire 20 acres.  This was my chance to make a Nature Trail to areas that had previously been inaccessible.

Calling it a "hiking trail" would be misleading and "wildlife trail" would just get peoples hopes up. (Though animals are using it). I've had to settle on "Nature Trail". You might think that 20 acres is a lot of area but creating even a short trail that doesn't repeat itself is harder than it sounds. So far I've been able to scratch out a modest 20 minute walk that meanders along the creek and crisscrosses up a hill on the east side of the ranch. My goal is to create a nature walk where we can hike at least a short distance without seeing signs of human habitation.  This will take years because I'm going to have to rely on the re-growth of plants and trees to do most of the work. All I have to do is keep a path clear and let the plants grow around it.

The hard part is clearing out the junk along the trail that has accumulated over the years. The previous owners were horse people and the property was strewn with rotting corals, abandoned chicken coops and rusty barbed wire strung haphazardly from tree to tree. Old truck tires, car parts and abandoned appliances dot the landscape. In a peculiar sort of way, the fire did us a big favor. Burned tires turn to little clumps of manageable steel wires that easily go into the dumpster. The denuded under brush has allowed me to wander the wooded areas with a bolt cutter and I�ve been gathering up miles of barbed wire. The frames of the chicken coops have burned away and I�ve been able to easily roll up the left over chicken wire.  It�s fun and I�m actually having a good time but I have a long way to go.  Somehow new piles of junk keep appearing and they ruin the pristine view that I'm trying to achieve.

Trail maintenance is another never ending chore.  I try to remember to bring my pruners on every walk and I have to use the weed trimmer once a year. I've cleared a path on the most rocky spots though a single rain storm can erase my work. My reward for making it to the top of the hill is a park bench that I carried up piece by piece.  Of course the biggest maintenance involves just walking the trail. A month off during the heavy spring growing season can leave the trail almost impossible to find.

Since 1999