Winter is definitely the most challenging time of the year to work out at the Springs. It has its advantages as well, enabling access to normally wet areas and the opportunity to burn brush piles; we’ve lit 284 so far this season. Between burning piles, we’ve been focused on opening up the cut-off trail, which had been obliterated by flooding and overgrown with a buckthorn thicket.
Don Dane helped us with the first step to restore the trail by marking the route, which you can see on the map above. Then we cleared the buckthron path moving from east to west eventually re-establishing the trail. All the while we were struck by the beauty and majesty of the huge oak trees and the lovely view of the Scuppernong River, both of which were still obscured by thickets of buckthorn overlaid by fallen trees.
The next step was to expand the views from the trail; first to the south to show off the river, and then to the north to reveal the huge oaks. I worked this past Monday and Wednesday (yesterday) and finished clearing the west end of the cut-off trail between the trail and the river. A couple of huge oaks laid down amongst the buckthorn thicket complicating the clearing, which is done now except for the piling and burning. I also cut some on the north side of the trail to open up the perimeter of an old cranberry bog. We are negotiating with a local prison to get inmates to come out and help us pile brush. I hope it works out. Imagine being incarcerated and getting the opportunity to spend the day at the Scuppernong Springs!
Here is a before video of the work-site taken this past Monday, March 11th.
I had to switch to my rubber knee high boots to wade through the slush, but I got a lot cut on Monday.
Hanging out at the bridge later.
The weather was much nicer on yesterday, bright sun and blue skies, as I made the last cuts on the west end of the trail.
The view after.
Here are a couple pics of the brush that was laid down.
And the oaks along the trail.
In the afternoon I relocated to approximately the mid-point of the cut-off trail to continue clearing the perimeter of an old cranberry bog on the north side of trail, which is surrounded by huge oaks.
There is nothing quite so edifying as clearing buckthorn to reveal giant oak trees. It gives me great joy; my work is play.
Later, I meditated by the river and spent some quality time strolling the trails in contemplation waiting for the sun to set. Here are the Hidden Spring, Scuppernong Spring and Indian Spring.
Sunset at the Indian Campground.
See you at the Springs!