Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’my mind
Do this, don’ do that
Can’t you read the sign?
( Five Man Electrical Band)
Here is the sign at the top of the dam. There are things happening here that aren’t on the sign, like running, and disc golf. This got me thinking about all the sign in the woods.
A few years back, I was running with a friend, and we saw two teenage boys dragging their BMX bikes through the brush. We asked what they were doing, and they said trying to follow the red and white trail. What they didn’t realize, is that the red and white markers aren’t a trail, they’re the Corps of Engineers boundary markers. Well, that explained why they were having such a hard time staying on the trail! Helps to know what you’re looking for.
If you look really hard, sometimes you can find little poles marking the boundaries, too.
I talk to lots of people in the woods. (Ya, really. And no, I didn’t teach my kids not to talk to strangers either.) It’s funny how many people think they are following the blue trail. or following the orange trail. No such thing. All the trails on the east side are marked with blue blazes.
And all the trails on the west side are marked with orange blazes.
Black dots in the middle of the blaze mean you’re heading back toward the dam. No dot, means you’re heading away (usually north). Funny (well maybe not so funny) how little attention people pay to where they’re going. I’ve been asked directions many times by hikers who say “I was on the blue trail, but it disappeared and now I’m on the orange one. What happened?” When I reply that they crossed the river, they will often deny it. Well, you know that big metal bridge you went across? Ya? Well that was over the river.
The Midstate Trail runs across the Hodges project. The trail is about 95 miles long (that changes sometimes when re-routing is done due to changes in conditions. The Oxford section was re-routed when the Rocky Hill bridge was built). It starts at the NH state line, and runs all the way to RI. Find out more about the Midstate Trail here. The halfway marker is in Treasure Valley Boy Scout camp. The midstate markers are yellow triangles. Some are just painted on trees, but many are very professional looking markers nailed to the trees (wonder how the trees feel about that?)
Some of the signs are warnings. The trails run close to a quarry, and trail users and big dump trucks need to watch out for each other.
Some of the signs are handmade. I know a trail dog named Sammy, but I don’t think this is his trail. So whose is it?
If you just barrel down the middle of the trail, with your only goal getting to the end, you will miss so much. Slow down, look at what’s around you, and take some pictures. What can you find in the woods today?