Long time readers will remember Nitwit bridge and trail. We constructed that trail and bridge to make it easy to avoid walking a dangerous country road where people drive much too fast. It's a trail that leads up to another area of our property and out roads that have safe sidewalks for our local hikes and walks. It's also a trail that houses an underground pipe from our initial well to our water tanks. Our property is essentially divided into 2 pastures with a lot of steep hillside forest and creek between them.
Over the years I've dropped hints about clearing some of the forest and making another trail to cross the property and make use of the creek, especially since Juno loves to wade in water. Mr. "If-it-Costs-Money-the-Answer is-No" Wild Dingo was never sold on that idea. Then one day last winter, he walked the dogs across Nitwit and realized just how dangerous the bridge had become. A 40-foot high, 90-foot long bridge built on one large, very old fallen redwood would not last forever, as water would eventually rot the tree and it was certainly too slippery to walk in the winter. Thus, came plans for the new trail with a bridge lower to the creek that would be safer to cross.
We put a lot of other projects on hold and began work in late August and continued through November to build the trail. We love our land crew. We've worked with them every year since the day we've moved in and as usual, they exceeded our expectations. Like anything else that involves property management and my hair-brained ideas, it's a lot like opening a can of worms. I always knew we had a bit of flat property behind our house so when trail work began, I asked the crew to spend a few weeks cutting down junk trees, such as Tan Oaks and any dying madrones and opened up our property to make way for just the majestic redwoods that had long since been covered by ugly diseased trees.
We still have a lot more clearing to do, but it feels wonderful to give these redwoods the breathing room they deserve, not to mention it's very healthy for the forest and safe for fire hazards. I feel proud to be a steward to such beautiful trees and forest. I have a few more plans to keep going in this direction for other areas of our property that desperately need clearing and cleaning, but Sssshh, don't tell Mr. Wild Dingo. He'll never go for it.
The photos that follow are taken from various times over the last 3 months during trail and bridge development and are in no sequential order. So if you are Juno's Physical Torturer or vet, please ignore the off-leash zoomie photos as these were taken long before her recent shoulder injury!
The old logging road starts just behind our house. Here, Loki and Juno receive the rules for walking on this trail.
"Princess, what is Poppy yammerin' about?"
"Who cares, Big Boy. Just nod your head so we can take off after those squirrels who torment us!"
Err... it seems the rules were lost on some-pup. Sigh.
"Last one up is a rotton egg!"
The dogs love the redwood grove for hunting and zoomies. The grove sits just below the logging road, but above the trail to the creek. We visit the grove first for a round of zoomies but keep a close eye on them because the terrain is a bit dangerous. There are definitely areas that could use some fencing to keep the dogs from accidentally falling down a steep slope. In addition, keeping the forest cleaned up from slash and junk trees also makes it easier to spot wild life and more enjoyable to visit.
"Princess, Interloper, 9:00!"
"I hear you 5 by 5 Big Boy."
At the bottom of the logging road, the new trail begins. You can imagine my surprise when the trail crew started putting in steps for us. One thing I never cared for about Nitwit was that it was very steep and slippery at times to walk. We could never put stairs on that trail because of a water pipe that runs directly under ground. So we used hand rails to hold in case of slipping. The hand rails always gave me slivers! I knew the this new trail would be just as hard to walk but I never considered stairs! The stairs a make it so much more pleasant to walk!
"Awe Geez, Daddy-O. The humans are cramping our style. This trail is made for zoomies and they keep making us put on the brakes!"
"Well, woo know me Princess, l firmly believe that life is about taking time to stop and smell the coyote poop."
At the bottom of the creek, two trees were dropped to make the bridge. This bridge is much lower to the creek, probably no more than 15 feet off the creek and will be so much safer to walk even in the wet winter. The creek is currently dry but we expect it to be roaring in a month or so.
"Hey Pop, whatchya doin' way up there? The action is way down here!"
Soon the planks were laid down. What you can't see is that a ton of cement was used to bury the big 6 x 6 piers along with two "dead man" handles in the ground to serve as anchors on either side of the bridge. The anchors secure the cable stays used for the netting and handrails.
Mr. Wild Dingo installed the cables and netting himself while the trail work was done by our land trail crew team and a the bridge was constructed by a long time friend and carpenter.
A couple of weeks ago, I didn't feel well enough to walk the dogs, so I walked as far down as the bridge with them so I can take some shots. As I walked back up to the house and Mr. Wild Dingo walked on with the dogs, I could spot them across and above the creek.
"Pop! I am not going anywhere without Mom!"
That mamma's boy took a little convincing but he managed to go against his hard fast rules of "pack stays together" and continued on with Juno and Mr. Wild Dingo.
On the trails we have a few obstacles that the dogs love to do. One of them is this tree cut out. Lately the dog walks are completely on leash because Juno has a shoulder injury likely from the zoomies she ran on this trail when it was still off camber and not safe to run. So we send them one at a time over obstacles.
Loki does his best to vogue handsome. Maybe I'm biased, but I think he was successful!
Our trail ends at the other pasture and out to "the real walk." In all, it's about 1/2 mile walk from the house to this flat pasture, but the terrain is steep and by the time we reach it, I often feel I completed a marathon!
"Here she goes again, making us wait and smile for the flashie beast."
"It's the high price we pay for those chicken treats she hoards in her pocket."
The dogs love their new trail and new bridge. But I'm at a loss as to what to name the bridge. Since its much safer than Nitwit, we can't call it Nitwit. Besides, there's only one Nitwit Bridge and despite its safety it's still in use. Mr. Wild Dingo's suggestion "Lower Logging trail" is just too boring. If not Nitwit, then what could we name it? Any suggestions?
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Readers!