Aug 01 2008

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Posted at 7:17 am under Blog Post

Thunderstorms have been ravaging the area for days, making it hard to get out. So when a window of fair weather emerged this morning, I took advantage of it. I loaded my dog, Matika, into the car and headed for the Rail Trail just a few miles north of town.

The well-groomed gravel path underfoot made it easy to stretch my legs. I worked up a sweat in no time. Yeah, I was making tracks and loving it, but just couldn’t stay on the trail. The cool, shady forest on either side of the path was calling my name. So I trespassed. I ignored the signs telling me to stay away and then, when no one was looking, followed a game trail into the dense woods.

Matika kept charging ahead of me and I kept calling her back. That made it hard to be quiet – my preferred mode of travel whenever I trespass. I spotted someone’s homestead through the trees and changed course. I heard the buzz of a chainsaw, then I veered away. When I saw light breaking through the forest directly ahead, I turned back towards the Rail Trail. I’d had enough. Sometimes a bushwhack is full of pleasant surprises. Other times it’s a bust.

There are a lot more “No Trespassing” signs in the countryside today than there were twenty-five years ago when I moved to Vermont. As more and more people flock here from the crowded cities along the Eastern Seaboard, more land gets posted. This is only natural, I suppose. But knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Soon a guy like me won’t be able to legally wander anywhere except on town, state or federal land. In other words, the freedom of the hills is in heavy retreat before precious property rights. Hunters have known this for years, but now even woodswalkers are starting to feel the pinch. It’s a turn of events that would greatly trouble Thoreau if he were alive today.

Up the Rail Trail a short way, I came to a large wetland and watched for wildlife for a while. A few bullfrogs croaked from the cattails and thrushes sang from the woods behind me. Otherwise the place was quiet. Matika plunged into a pool of muddy water just for the hell of it. I enjoyed the evening primrose, bladder campion, St. Johnswort and other wildflowers growing along the path as I walked back to the car. The sky filled with clouds. We reached the car before they opened up. It was good getting out, but the unwelcoming signs put a damper on things. Oh well. Next time I’ll go someplace wilder.

One response so far

One Response to “Trespassing”

  1. Sherman Dayon 12 Nov 2008 at 7:58 pm 1