Easter week of 2013 marks a huge
milestone in the history of our beloved
Sandhills Farm Life Nature Trail. The
photos and captions in the next two blog
posts will seek to give you a sense of the
excitement of the upgrade in our trail's quality.
Whether you are a former student at SFL, a
teacher, parent, or community member, the
trail will now be a greater resource for you than
ever before. As dogwood season is almost upon
us, I invite you and your family and friends to
come "home" to the nature trail sometime in the
coming weeks. I think you will be thrilled with
what you experience there. Now, for a sampler,
let's dive right in.
|The entrance to our trail is at the bottom of the|
concrete stairs to the ball field. Enter to the
right of the fence.
|The stream is as full of free-flowing water as I've|
ever seen it. Big Rock awaits your visit.
|This rotten log is the remnant of a massive tree which|
fell across our stream more than 25 years ago. The rest
of its trunk has returned to the soil.
|To the side of the trail is one of the few remaining|
posts which numerically identified specimens on the
trail back in 1985. We hope to add new signage with
words and images next year.
|This photo highlights the type of deep erosion evident|
on the trail after years of no protection from rainfall.
This week's corrective measures should help dramatically.
|With low spots filled with gravel, then covered with|
hardwood chips, roots will no longer be a hazard. Of
course, you should always watch your step!
|Old Man Poplar looks on with approval at|
the major improvements taking place.
|Here are some of the tools of the trade that a hard-|
working crew from ASIS will use to perform their magic.
|You can see the imprint of their Caterpillar's|
treads as they give the trail a run-through
prior to beginning work.
|The Cat will be valuable for delivering materials to the|
trail, but it will take manpower to accomplish the task.
|Two years ago, this same Cat, with a different front-|
end attachment, mulching our trail to a width of five
feet. Today marks the latest upgrade.
|Areas that have been chronically muddy in past wet|
seasons are filled with stone before the new trail is put down.
|Two widths of geo-tech are put down over the entire|
trail to inhibit plant growth in the walking path. If
you see sprouts ON the trail (from fallen nuts, seeds,
or berries) feel free to uproot them and toss them aside.
|Beginning at the bridge, the workers will work|
"backwards," working their way gradually to the
start of the trail.
|These devices place giant staples every few inches to|
hold the geo-tech in place, hopefully for years.
|The Cat will deliver countless loads to the workers|
over a two day period.
|The first load of hardwood chips has arrived.|
|The first load of chips is headed to the bridge.|
|It's a muddy business, but all signs of mud will vanish|
by the time this project is completed on Good Friday.
|Highly efficient teamwork.|
|This is the almost completed spur of the trail|
from the bridge to the "Y." (I'll explain the "Y" soon).
|Here at the viewing area / teaching station at Big Rock,|
a wider area will be covered in chips so that groups can
spread out a little for easier viewing.
|I'm sure I could have rounded up plenty of volunteers|
to haul these chips down there in wheelbarrow,
but then again . . . .
|Thanks to this gravel "fix," muddy shoes will no longer|
be a fear of teachers taking groups on the trail. And we
won't have to seek out "detours" that might lead through
briars or poison ivy unintentionally.
|Here's another of our original sign posts, this one still|
standing. It's no longer beside the trail, but you might
spot it if you have sharp eyes. I think I'll leave it.
This pictorial narrative continues in the next blog post
which follows below.