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  1. #1
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    Default Overgrown trails

    It's common to describe one of the "other" trails as "overgrown".

    What does "overgrown" mean to you?

    For me it's when I can't figure out where the trail goes. It seems to me that others might mean when there are a couple of blades of grass that aren't closely mowed.

    Is there a common vocabulary to discuss levels of "overgrown"-ness? Let's discuss.

  2. #2
    Registered User cowboy nichols's Avatar
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    No shelters.no people looks like animals are the main users P.S. deer can jump trees across it, I can't

  3. #3

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    I feel that when in rain you feel like you just walked through a car wash or you have more rips and holes in your clothes and skin coming out of the woods than before you went in. Also applies to the trails that lead into the woods and stops leaving you to wonder which way to go and eventually head back out the same way you came in.

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    Registered User cowboy nichols's Avatar
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    I try to never turn around and travel the same path twice but as I have aged a little some paths have beaten me LOL

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    Registered User Sierra Echo's Avatar
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    To me, an overgrown path is where you have have to walk with one foot in front of the other like in a police sobriety test. And the poison ivy is still getting you on both sides! LOL

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taba View Post
    I feel that when in rain you feel like you just walked through a car wash or you have more rips and holes in your clothes and skin coming out of the woods than before you went in. Also applies to the trails that lead into the woods and stops leaving you to wonder which way to go and eventually head back out the same way you came in.
    LOL I understand. Have you ever hiked where there are goats or wild pigs. They create dead end trails all over the place. In Hawaii sometimes animal trails are more traveled than the overgrown non-maintained human trails which makes it sometimes hard to find the "trail" meant for me.

    Goat trails can be especially perplexing, and dangerous, because they will lead up/down cliffs or dead end at a cliff in THICK vegetation where you sometimes can't see the cliff edge until you are right on top of it. But, Hawaiians have also been known to build/follow trails just like this too.

    Sometimes I like no trail because it often means fewer people or a greater adventure.

  7. #7

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    I started a thruhike of the Allegheny Trail a few weeks ago but had to end it after only one night because of an injury to my hiking partner.

    But for the 15.6 miles we hiked, much of the trail was "overgrown" by my criteria. Ironically, it was very well-blazed - some would say overblazed - so we never had problems finding the next blaze. The problem was the next blaze was often straight through a field of stinging nettles or other waist-high underbrush. There was no "trail" or even path in such places. I'm not saying the whole trail was like that but we got ourselves pretty well cut-up.

    I didn't expect the ALT to be up to AT standards given its remote location with few hikers to trample down a pathway and a skeletal core of maintaining volunteers. But it surprised me how fast the brush had grown by May 20 when we started.

    Given a choice between frequent clear blazes vs. less blazes but a maintained cleared footpath, I'd choose the latter especially for late Spring to early Fall hiking. We intend to return to hike the ALT but probably with a start after October 15.

    And we met up with one consequence of a little-used overgrown trail: a large rattlesnake. Actually it was on a stretch along a small creek where there was a discernible path through thick rhododendron. He sat coiled on the right side of the path facing inward i.e. right at our legs if we had walked past him. The rhododendron was too thick to go around him. Eventually I prodded him with a long dead tree limb and he slithered into the creek rattling all the way.

    So while we had to end the hike anyway because of the injury, we weren't too keen about the prospect of running into more of his colleagues in the overgrown areas.

  8. #8

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    The problem was the next blaze was often straight through a field of stinging nettles or other waist-high underbrush. - Cookerhiker

    Where there is stinging nettle often there is some of the friendly cousin of the common annual Impatiens(often mis-pronounced as Impatients), the Jewelweed, growing nearby. This wild member of the Impatiens family takes the "sting" out of stinging nettle. Just apply the jellylike sap, found in copious amounts in the fat stems just where they protrude out of the ground, on the affected areas of the skin. Instant relief! Also can be used to relive some of the itch of poison ivy. Native Indians used to make fishing lures from the leaves because when placed in water they sparkle like silver jewels, hence the name Jewelweed.

  9. #9
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    So if nettles make a trail "overgrown," is it less likely that long pants will result in a report of "overgrown"?

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    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Nuff Said..........
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post


    Nuff Said..........
    I'll agree with that one

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    Registered User vamelungeon's Avatar
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    Where you lose the trail, where briars or stinging nettles have taken over. As long as there is a trail that is visible and my ankles aren't getting turned to hamburger I'm OK.

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    Overgrown to me has levels of severity in the following order:

    I can't tell where the trail is by sight or feel. Even when I find the other side, and gps tells me where it should be, I still can't find a spot that seems like it was ever a trail.

    I can kind of tell where the trail is, but I can't walk on it because woody plants are forcing me off it.

    There are woody plants at least hip high that have sprouted from the middle of the trail.

    Branches from woody plants completely crossed the trail last season and are sprouting new growth this season. This isn't that bad for me.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
    So if nettles make a trail "overgrown," is it less likely that long pants will result in a report of "overgrown"?
    Only slightly. Most hiking pants are thin so you can still feel some of the nettles' sting. And it wasn't just nettles but shrubs as well such as laurel and blueberries (I was a month too early for the berries!)

    At the time, we vowed that our return to the ALT would be late Fall or early Spring and that's another dimension to your question: is the Trail less overgrown when hiked at a time of year when "growth" is only starting (Spring), waning (Fall) or dormant (Winter)?

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
    It's common to describe one of the "other" trails as "overgrown".

    What does "overgrown" mean to you?

    For me it's when I can't figure out where the trail goes. It seems to me that others might mean when there are a couple of blades of grass that aren't closely mowed.

    Is there a common vocabulary to discuss levels of "overgrown"-ness? Let's discuss.
    generally i would consider a trail overgrown when the brush on either side touches consistantly in the middle (where the trail should be).
    to elaborate, the footpath can only be seen if you look under the brush ahead.....
    so it looks like the trail is frequented only by rabbits.

    i may call a trail overgrown with grass alone after said grass reaches armpit height, but not before.
    see me and my volks-people on the trail @:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/volksmanhiking

  16. #16

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    There are many categories of overgrown trails. It mostly has to do with the type of plant "overgrowing". Rhododendron? Then you end up in a heath hell. Frustrating. Briars and brambles? Then you end up in a wall of high thorns. Painful. Grapevine? Then you end up bellycrawling in wait-a-minutes. Rhodo leaning over in heavy snow? I call em snowdowns and near impossible to fight thru.

    THE FOUR CATEGORIES OF BLOWDOWNS
    ** Simple blowdowns--ya just step over or under them w/o a break in stride.
    ** Slowdowns--these require altering your hiking cadence and includes belly crawls and squirting duck walks, etc.
    ** Throwdowns--these are slowdowns that result in blood loss and the snagging of skin.
    ** Reach Arounds--these occur when you hit a wall of something terrible(like briars or rhodo)and know the trail keeps going but you just can't continue--it's too rough, and so you "reach down inside yourself" and turn around.

    (A final category are Snowdowns--see above--only happen in winter).

    The below fotog was taken on the Hemlock Creek Trail during a recent backpacking trip. It's somewhere in the Brushy Ridge section in TN and it's hell in a very small place. I encourage all backpackers to attempt it.

    There's a trail in the Slickrock wilderness called the Haoe Lead trail which has sections of torture with sunny hillsides covered in walls of high briars. You see the trail under the whole mess and know you have to battle thru it all with a full pack. Pray your Thermarest is buried and covered deep in your pack, cuz everything will get stuck and torn. Reminds me, I wrote a trip report about this section--gotta look it up.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17

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    THE REAL HEART OF DARKNESS TRAIL(from a 12 day trip in May/June 2009)

    I'm stuck in the middle of the Haoe Ridge trail between the Deep Creek junction and the Jenkins Meadow junction, and it's another exercise in briars, rocks, scrub country, uphills and serpents. My arms and legs are stamped with 8 days of bad trails, and I've joined the Haoe Ridge Club of a thousand cuts. Just get me past the next "problem" area and I'll be alright.

    GOAL ORIENTATION
    A bung leech attaches itself and feeds me trail courage as I push past the last vestige of pit viper pathway and reach the never-so-appreciated trail junction with Jenkins Meadow at a big finned rock in an open snake-free reststop.

    People who value a future of sexual activity should never backpack this trail as it will snag and remove small appendages such as ear lobes, goatees, pony tails, and swinging genitalia, along with nose rings and female mammaries. No tightly cinched codpiece or protective cup will protect the male gonad when walking this trail, and an air-conditioned kevlar body suit is recommended, with all dangling organs bound tightly underneath.

    In addition, rattlesnake face shields are required to protect neck and face from fangs when crawling under blowdowns or ascending rock faces. In fact, all effort should be made to avoid this trail and to stick to a few paved trails in the Smokies. Trail workers in North Carolina are apparently killed at birth and so don't expect a cleared or maintained trail in the Slickrock area. Anyone caught with a bowsaw or weed wacker or limb loppers in this region are allegedly shot on sight by truck-ensconced Rangers at the trailheads, and so backpackers are on their own when bushwacking these trails.

  18. #18
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    I don't know Tipi, good analysis, just would not call it a "Reach Around"


    I use this:

    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  19. #19

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    People who value a future of sexual activity should never backpack this trail as it will snag and remove small appendages such as ear lobes, goatees, pony tails, and swinging genitalia, along with nose rings and female mammaries. No tightly cinched codpiece or protective cup will protect the male gonad when walking this trail, and an air-conditioned kevlar body suit is recommended, with all dangling organs bound tightly underneath.

    In addition, rattlesnake face shields.... Tipi Walter

    Oh my God! LOL Tipi you must get out of the house and away from the computer more often!

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