What was I saying in my last post? Oh yes! I was leading up to our arrival at the possible hunting station set up by an interloper and what we found there.
Well, we got across the mostly dry creek and found ourselves at the base of the south-facing slope. Somewhere up there was the hunting station, but I wasn’t sure just where. It didn’t look like it would be up to the right since the slope was a bit more gentle that way and started farther from the creek. The hunting station was above a steep slope, and it was within spitting distance of the creek.
That left the slope on the left, which was, indeed, steeper and looked more familiar. So we began our ascent, stepping over trees that had fallen in the last year — one looking as though it may have fallen in the last week. On a bit more level ground I looked about, and there it was: the upturned log intended as a seat, hidden behind a tree that would give the hunter some degree of protection from the cautious eyes of his prey.
And what did we find there?
Nothing, which as any sophist knows, has many meanings.
Here is a photo of what we found on our Sunday visit:
What you may not be able to discern is that there is plenty of leaf litter on the ground in front of the log. (Compare that to the photo in the first link above.) That tells me that no one has been by to prepare the site for a prolonged sit-down. You can certainly tell that there is no white note in a plastic bag on top of the log (which you can see in the second link above). We looked around for the note, thinking it may have blown off the log, but we didn’t find anything. (I must admit it has been a year though.)
My hope is that my interloper friend returned last year and found my note then had a crisis of conscience, finding a new place to trespass. (The irony is that if he had asked in the past, I would have said yes.)
I’m taking it all as a good sign. I’m reading it as evidence than an interloper can be appealed to and can do the right thing.
Of course, it is more than a week before deer hunting season opens, and that leaves plenty of time for a trespassing hunter to come by and clean up the station in advance of use. I won’t be back before then, but maybe after the season closes, I could trudge by and see if things look different.
We were near our northern fence line at this point, and Libby proposed we hike along it just to see what there was to see. That really was the purpose of the visit. We saw no signs of misuse on our property, but it’s always prudent to see what the neighbors are up to.
Not much, it turned out. My neighbor to the north (actually, there are several whose property touches our fence) has kept the old road open. That’s his business, and as far as I can tell, it has no effect on our woods or their health. I suppose we were looking for tract housing developments or brand new hog farms or such. We didn’t see any as we marched to the east. This eventually took us down into the dry stream bed again, and from there it was a fairly steep ascent to follow the fence/property line. We didn’t go all the way to our northeast corner, but we certainly went far enuf to see that the neighbor to the east hadn’t done a thing different with his woods.
And so we had a decision. Should we keep hiking the property line — something we try to do each winter — or should we find our way back to the truck and drive off? (There was another bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks we wanted to see that day.)
We chose to return to the truck, but that was still a hike. Fortunately, we were able to walk along a mostly still open old logging road, pausing periodically to listen to the occasional gunshots or remember where we were going to site our retirement house when this was the place.
The forest at Fallen Timbers is fine. It’s doing well without our regular management, and we can safely leave it to its own resources. I hope another year doesn’t pass before we return, but we never know.
And it was time to drive away to Roundrock. But you’ll have to wait until Monday for that account because tomorrow we return to the Saturday Matinee, and Sunday is the usual mishmash of scattered ideas.
- Day of the Dead