Trail Tale 2

Yesterday was cold, breezy, dark, and showery.  The showers were rain or snow, depending on the moment.  True to my resolve of a couple of days ago, I rode back to the W&OD Trail right-of-way in our neighborhood to clear it.  The biggest challenge was to figure out how to carry the bow saw on my bike; I stuck my right wrist through it so it hung blade side outward.  Wasn’t going far, after all.

Bamboo, as it turns out, saws easily.  Some of the sections I cut were 4″ across, a few were very slender.  Those still cut better than they broke when twisted by hand.  Bamboo is brittle and hollow.  The vessels we went river rafting on in Jamaica in January were made from 30′ lengths of bamboo that were cut and lashed together.  Bamboo is very buoyant, because it essentially consists of a series of sealed air pockets.  While the water comes up between the lengths of bamboo in the raft, the passengers sit on a bamboo “throne” and never get wet.  Of course bamboo grows better in the tropics, while ours never gets quite that gargantuan.  Around here it’s quite vigorous, though, and good for thickets of vegetation that serve as privacy screens.  What makes it a weed is that it spreads energetically on runners and is impossible to control.  And it does not stand up to snow.

I had to cut perhaps 25 or 30 shoots, working back down the path from near the top, where there was an access point to the biggest tangle.  I just stacked the cut bamboo along the side of the path where the bamboo patch itself is.  If somebody else wants to do something else with it, let them.

Working the last tangle up the path to the junction with the trail, I was utterly shocked to find that I could not measure the snow depth.  The trail had been plowed!  Only the stretch where the right-of-way is, unfortunately.  I could see snow on the uphill grade about half a mile to the west.  But this will assure that this shady area will also be clear when the rest of the trail melts off, I hope over the weekend.  The plow, of course, left a high ridge of snow which will have to be broken through, shoveled off, or simply gotten around by dismounting and lifting one’s bike over.  Until even that too dissolves in the highly anticipated warmth of spring.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2010.

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