The trouble with our trails

I completely love that we have a property where we can go for a hike. However, I have two issues with our trails.

1. Our trails are slightly extremely overgrown. Because we’re not riding horses over them, because we don’t have a mower that we can take on them, because in the spring the trails are mostly underwater, because the mosquitoes were so bad this year that we haven’t been on them in months, hiking requires a fair bit of bushwhacking.

2. Our trails do not loop. They are all out-and-backs. Despite knowing this, I persist in trying to find a way around. The result is predictable: I end up either in water that is higher than the tops of my boots, or I end up in impassable brush. Sometimes both.

This was the situation Baxter and I found ourselves in recently. Deep in a marsh, tangled in grass so thick that at one point we actually lost each other, and we were right beside each other.

Completely true. I had a panic attack that I’d lost the dog, looked to my left and saw him sitting there staring at me.

Baxter’s reaction was, “I don’t know where we are, but it smells delicious.” Helpful, dude. Very helpful.

Baxter sniffing in the marsh

The bright side was that since it’s fall, the marsh had dried up a bit, so the water didn’t quite reach the top of my boots.

Here is a completely accurate fully to scale rough map of our trails. (For context, the trails go through the forest that covers roughly the back half of the property. This post has a full overview of the entire property in case you want to see how it all fits together).

Map of the trails on our property

The west trails are our best ones, but they’re also our wettest ones. We could probably get Wiley in the first 10 feet or so, but then things get squishy. And see that blue line above? There’s a creek that never completely dries up. I don’t think Wiley can swim. And I have no idea how we’d get him out if he ever got stuck.

The east trail is on higher ground and has much less grass, so it really doesn’t need mowing. It does however need a battalion of forest rangers with chainsaws. There is so much deadfall that this is less of a trail and more of an obstacle course. The dotted lines show how you can make this trail loop–if you’re willing to risk being poked in the eye with a stick (also completely true–I thought I’d done serious damage).

My looooooong term goal (seriously, this is so far in the future I have no idea when it might happen) is to one day have nice clear looping trails and boardwalks through the marsh. I’ve been saving any skids that we come across in the hopes that they might work as boardwalks. Now just to find my battalion of forest rangers to move them into place…

Do you like to hike? What’s your favourite trail like? Has anyone else gotten lost recently?

8 thoughts on “The trouble with our trails

  1. Love love love! That is one thing I miss about my parent’s house, it had 12 acres of woods…we have flat fields and no trees or creeks. I have been doing my running on our back roads but a friend told me about a trail at our local state park and now I LOVE running there! I think I would have loved cross country if my school had had it when I was young!

    You definitely need a loop. I know it will be tons and tons of work. If Wiley can’t get back there maybe just take it a bit at a time with a weedeater and a chainsaw? Just think of how strong you will be when you get it done! 😉

  2. Julia,
    You r after my heart with your walking trails. I have always wanted to do this on my tree farm. It also has a creek running across one corner of it. Brush is so thick and land so swampy that I never go there. We did follow a large tractor cutting firebreaks around a large portion of the 75 acres and that was fun, but firebreaks quickly grow back up. So, once cleared would have to have equipment to maintain. Would also love to have a utility vehicle to use on as-of-now-non-existent trails. Looks like Baxter enjoyed his trail adventure. Loved video!!

  3. I am so jealous you have these trails and right on your own property! And how awesome for Baxter! I love hiking. It’s scary to think you could get lost/stuck in the marsh though!

    • We’d probably eventually find our way to a road or a fence or a field. I’ve been amazed though how easy it is to think you’re heading one direction and realize you’re going completely the wrong way. I can see how people wander in circles when they’re lost in the woods!

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