By Lynn Atkins
Decided to see if the lock at Blaney Aquifer had unfrozen itself. On the way there observed that the construction folks had again fenced off the trail head at 441 Glen Road - so I stopped to cut open the fence for the trailhead (I think this is the third time I have done this). It would be really nice to create a pullout here for WFTA personnel - it is the only safe area to park to access Norumbega. Stopped at the trail head onto the Danforth property to see if the hanging red pine snag dropped to the ground and it did not.
Lock was ice free on Blaney gate - still I soaked it with WD-40. Drove through. Pulled small birch snag off the field edge to clear the trail near the gate. P/U trash near the gate. Fixed the trail-marker here. There were three new pines down since my last visit in January (?). This area is prone to windthrow for some reason. I was able to move one log I had previously cut that was now clear of ice but two maple snags are still frozen and covered in snow.
Spent a lot of time tossing sticks and branches (LOTS - another indication of how often the wind hits the trees here). My next trip in here will be to cut the brush and grass and I will give the trails a light raking.
Ran into an older gentleman abutter who walks these trails often and always talks my ear off but tells wonderful stories about hunting and wildlife. I’m very patient with him so I can absorb all his information. I asked him to write about his hunting ethic - he could be the Aldo Leopold of Weston.
While clearing the three pines - also cut lots of buckthorn. Pulled branches/limbs out of the field trail - more could be done.
Wildlife: large bird of prey out of the corner of my eye, lots of deer tracks, lots of coyote scat, turkey scratchings, poo and a feather
Drove into Ogilvie to clear the last of reported obstructions (and a new one by Reese’s wife). Tossed a lot of branches off the road just behind the gate, from a fallen, hanging maple snag. I left the snag hanging so I could get to the other reports before dark. Encountered another hanging maple snag just inside the forest and also, left it for another day.
Road a bit slippery with snow and barely drivable on the slopes. Drove around pine top at the first trail junction. Spotted a small pine snag across the trail at TM 8 so stopped to clear it. Cut the end of a small oak snag a little further up the trail. Also replaced TM 8 with fresh, green trail-markers. Clifford found a deer leg here.
Parked at TM 6 and walked in to clear reported obstructions:
1) 20-inch pine and bent over maple tree, 2) pine top just south of TM U, 3) Ash limb had already been pulled off the trail by some good Samaritan (probably Reese).
Pruned a few pines. The two trail crossings are very wet and probably one of them should be bumped up in priority but not until the pine widow-maker from above falls. Pulled staples out of a tree. P/U helium ballon in the forest. Trails are slick enough that micro spikes are still needed.
Walked dogs from 6 to Y to 9 to 5 to 6. Moved a pine top and branches under the widow-maker, east of TM 3. Discovered an oak crown just south of TM 3 hanging over the trail but passable. Will go back with pole saw and remove branches as well as prune up some hemlocks in this area. Hand cut one small oak snag. Pruned a few pines.
On the drive out I stopped to move the pine top I had earlier driven around.
Wildlife: about 11 turkeys near TM 5. Eye shine of, I think, two coyotes but could have been deer (kind of obscured by trees), deer under hemlock trees