Trailblazing through the thick of it.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Waldo Emerson might have reneged on his famous quote had he scrolled through these “before” pics of Pye Acres. It takes more than philosophy to be a trailblazer. The power saw is mightier than the pen. So, too, is elbow grease.

The most ambitious trail project on Pye Acres is now complete.  These “after” pics represent only a few waypoints on a new 3/4-of- a-kilometer trail loop that borders a marsh, a sunny cedar ridge and the northeastern property line.

Speaking of Waldo, a 15-year search for the original land survey spike has been akin to finding that of the same namesake. The proverbial haystack (log-stacks) buried the needle that we’ve been missing. In Waldo’s wisdom to a leave trail, we announced an amazing find — an iron bar that, over 100 years ago, was staked into the top corner of this 138 acre piece of earth. That inch-wide landmark motivated Pye family teamwork to punch out another clear path forward.

Trail tenacity conquered 5-acres that were toppled into a tangled mess, presumably in the wake of a microburst long before the property was ever Pye Acres. We now have a scenic route to a parcel of young forest potential (pines, maple, poplar, ash, birch and cedar) that was previously unnavigable by way of hunting boots or snow shoes, let alone an ATV.

The recent sound of the Stihl is music to wildlife’s ears. All critters value new trails which opens more travel corridors and adds to the choice of feeding and bedding zones. Cedar brush piles are fresh browse, and new clearings bring on regeneration. The grunt work to achieve this is called land stewardship.

Most importantly, trailblazing is perspective. Creating a footpath with the labour of a 4×4 and power saw, and the warmth of Carhartt wear and a coffee Thermos is spoiled modern outdoors work life. I put myself in the thick of the woods, and in the thick of a pandemic, to untangle the weight of little worries while I dig up the roots of early settlement. This land was cleared for pasture (not tiny trails) in the world war era of plagues and hardships. There couldn’t be a more humbling time to walk in the footsteps of the original trailblazers. They gave us confidence to set a new direction as we break trail on a bright future ahead.


2 comments on “Trailblazing through the thick of it.

  1. Chris says:

    Incredibly well written! I’ve spent a lot of time in my life doing similar work and your words brought me right back to these freeing times. Great work all around my friend!

    • pyeacres says:

      Thank you. The conservation work was too satisfying not to express it… and it turns out it was much more than conservation work. A journey on many levels.

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