Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Indelible Tracks

This evening I took a hike up the backyard mountain to look at the fall colors. About half a mile up the mountain, the road runs out and narrows down into a fair hiking trail. A ways further, and it fans out into a dozen faintly defined meanders through the PJ.

If you wander through the mixed Juniperus scopulorum and Pinus monophyllum long enough, detouring around the scattered patches of Arctostaphylos, you can hook back into the mountain road that crosses the saddle and descends into the next valley. Beautiful vistas all around. I usually find the trail virtually untracked by humans, and a nice hillside to watch the sunset.

Some time in the last couple of weeks, an ambitious soul on an ATV took it upon himself to blaze the foot trail through.

Nothing tragic about this. It was always an unremarkable spot, nothing special to distinguish it from mountainsides and ridges all around this area. But it was untracked before. I presume that it never will be again — not in my lifetime.

I’ve seen this happen before in other areas around this neighborhood. Opening one track starts it. Where one ATV operator sees tire tracks, it apparently signals a green light to traverse the same ground.

There’s no reason to make new trails in this area. There are hundreds of miles of dirt trails to explore. Ripping a new one across formerly pristine territory is just senseless destruction.

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