Everything hurts


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Another volunteer day with the open space preserve. Back to Bear Creek Redwoods, just south of Los Gatos at the base of the hills. A new part of the preserve today, one I haven’t seen before. Very pretty.


There is a lot of broom around, much of it in bloom at this season. We are not ambitious enough to even dream of eradicating it; our volunteer coordinator Ellen wants to protect the meadows from encroachment. So we’ll focus on the meadows themselves, along with their bordering forests.


I worked alone all morning in an open forested area, where the broom had been previously mowed and sprayed. The mowed ones were the hardest: only a few inches tall, they had root systems far beyond their visible size. In damp duff, even some of the larger plants came out with a pull by hand; in hard-packed clay, even many of the smaller ones required the weed wrench.

There’s poison oak everywhere, but I’m wearing long pants and leather gloves, and keeping a suitably paranoid eye out. Boot-high growth isn’t too much of a concern.


By afternoon, I was ready for a change of scenery, so I joined the main crew, a few of whom are visible here. We see impressive piles — waist-high — of broom to the left of the roadlet; these piles continue for a hundred feet or more, as each of us attacks on a parallel front. I had rather imagined wandering around taking pictures, but there was a supersize Extractigator (good name!) not being used, so I added a few large bushes to the pile myself.

These sessions only run 4.5 hours, including a lunch break, but that’s enough. It’s seriously hard work, bending, twisting, turning, crouching, squatting, pushing, pulling.

Sunday, 6 April

So I’m not at all surprised that I hurt everywhere this morning, everywhere but my butt. The implied course of action was obvious, and after 51 miles and 2000 vertical feet on the bicycle, I’m back in total balance.

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