Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Canoe Trail Rodeo

Clearing the canoe trail of fallen debris was on today's schedule for the education department at the Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center. A thought while we were chest deep in the cool, swamp water..."Must be nice to be a weatherman, like the one that forecasted a day of sunshine and 70 degree weather, and know that your job is secure even when your forecast is 100% incorrect!"

As we reported in a previous entry, a large cypress had fallen onto (not across) the canoe trail and was sufficient in length to prevent its removal with the water level at the time. With the recent rains raising the level of the water in the swamp and no school groups on the schedule, we set out to remove our canoe trail nemesis! Recent wind storms had also deposited branches of various sizes onto the canoe trail, which in turn collected flotsam consisting of leaves, tupelo fruit and smaller branches. This debris was removed with ease, but the cypress behemoth mocked our plastic-paddle attempts at dislodging from within the comfort of our dry, aluminum, Grumman canoes. Like Tom "Maverick" Cruise ditching from his Grumman F-14 Tomcat, we were going to get wet.

The images show Mark Musselman, education director, riding the cypress log downstream once it had been dislodged from the spot where it had rested since March. The higher water level allowed the removal of several smaller trunks that had kept the cypress log anchored and unable to pivot. Once dislodged, the current swiftly pushed the cypress log downstream. Riding the log was the only way to keep up with and guide the log as it rocketed downstream. In the second image, the other end of the log is at the dark clumps. Eventually, the cypress log came to rest just off a bend in the canoe trail.

Although today's work also produced today's vocabulary word hypothermia, it sure beat sitting in a cubicle without a view!

Images by Sarah Green

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