Sunday, January 24, 2010

Really Big Pin Oaks

Well, we were out yesterday morning flagging & clearing the route for the Northwest Passage. It was a cold, but sunny morning that was really pleasant. We had a good turn out. In addition to our regular cast we had Janice and Dominick, along with Ryan. As Bill likes to say "Many hands makes light work".

While we were working out our plan of attack we had a number of cars slow down to look at us & one car stopped to ask what we were doing. I guess a bunch of people hanging out with loppers, machetes, saws, weed whackers, and pruners looks suspicious; it's either your friendly neighborhood trails work party, or a gang getting ready to repel a zombie attack.

The trail will follow the service road for the powerlines as it heads north.

We explored a possible route through the woods to the west of the road, but it was a sea of barberry. We would need an army of cutters to eradicate this thorny mess. Jim & I were able to wade thru with our Carhartts, but Ryan actually got a piece of his Red Sox shirt ripped off - through his hoodie. This is what happens to the forest when it is heavily browsed by deer; nothing but thorny invasive species, deer poop, and mature trees as far as the eye can see. There were not many shrubs, saplings, herbs, or native ground cover. This is not a healthy forest.
We came out onto the upper fields and followed the northern edge along the hedgerow before diving into the woods. This route should create some nice views for the finished trail.

The woods are wet and will need stepping stones to create firm footing. Luckily there are a number of suitable stones about. All we need now are some willing hands to help us move them to where they will do the most good. We picked the least wet route through the woods for the trail.

The trail is routed to pass through a grove of large Pin Oaks. These are trees typically found in floodplains and wetlands, and this group has some of the largest specimen trees that I've seen in this area. The grove is a meca for turkeys, deer & squirrels in the fall looking for acorns.

Pin Oaks are a red oak, but due to the knots left by the branches and it's tendency to check is used more for pallets and similar uses than for furniture. The branches are distinctive because the lower ones bend down, the middle branches stick out straight, and the upper branches go upward.

It was a good work party, & we got a lot done thanks to Janice, Dominick, Ryan & everybody else. There's still a lot to do however & if anybody wants to help out we've got lots of stepping stones to move, and brush to cut before this is a finished trail. See you at the next trails work party.

Make plans to come to the marshmallow roast and hike at Nicholdale on Feb. 6th. It should be a lot of fun for families and kids of all ages.


  1. You forgot about the little pond and Sheri's cows next to the pin oak grove. It's a neat little destination spot.

  2. Barberry patches have a LOT more infected deer ticks - a recent study verified that. Therefore, if we could get rid of that barberry, we might reduce the odds of getting Lyme Disease. (Better to reduce the deer population, but I'm still looking for that magic wand that will do it in a way that costs no money and doesn't upset anyone.)

  3. Volunteers needed to get rid of the deer tick infested barberry to lower the odds of others getting Lyme Disease.