Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Survey Says! and It's a Real Jungle Out There!

These are two posts I held back until we were sure to have the property:

The Survey Says!
We made an offer to purchase the property in Fairview, a suburb of Asheville, without seeing the entire site, not because we are lazy or foolish, but mainly for one reason, it is very, very rugged thru most of the interior section of the 10.6 acres and it is going to take some time to really explore it.

After our bid was accepted we returned to explore on our own. We ran into our surveyor, Tom Mulloy ( www.mulloysurveying.com ). We joined him on a scavenger hunt for site boundary markers and I know our assistance came in handy. It took teamwork to find some of them because they were well hidden. Thank goodness Tom had a machete, a vital tool in his arsenal of survey gadgets. As soon as Edrianna trusts me with a sharp object again, I’m going to get one. The last trip to the emergency room cost us $1800.    
(E) – Tom wacked through the brush like Indiana Jones looking for a secret temple. I knew right away I wanted one – not a secret temple – a machete! I already have the hat and the rest of the outfit to go along with it!

I have a great appreciation for mountain land surveyors and their challenges of getting thru heavy bush and trudging up and down the slopes. Much of the site is so dense that at several points we were only about 20’ apart but couldn’t see each other. I had found a corner marker and was calling out to Edrianna and Tom so they could come to where I was, but they couldn’t find me. I started waving an 8’ long tree branch frantically over my head and they still couldn’t see me. My next option was a flare gun, but unfortunately I didn’t have one. I felt like I popped into another dimension and became invisible. They finally did find me and we marked the area with bright colored tape so we could find it again.
(E) – At one point Tom had us on one edge of the property and between two markers – or so we thought. Jim headed one direction and Tom the other to find them. I stood there waiting, and waiting, and waiting. The view was really pretty. I was looking out toward a facing mountain slope. It was peaceful and very quiet. It was so quiet I became a bit uneasy, wondering where the heck they went. Are they ever coming back; did someone get hurt; are there bears out here; could anyone hear me if I scream? Where the heck did they go? All of the sudden something spooked a turkey and it went soaring through the trees and into an opening. Oh #@%$* – it’s a bear! Before I could completely freak out I heard Jim call out to me. I started breathing again and made a mental note of important items to carry when in the woods: machete, water, walkie-talkie, pepper spray in case you run into a bear, and a whistle.

This is the site plan

I sketched a section through the site and a birds-eye view so you can get a idea of the steep terrain. Click the images to enlarge. 

 It's a Real Jungle Out There!

There is a lot of thick undergrowth and a good chance this site has been virtually untouched by man for many years. The smarter members of the animal kingdom however have made good use of this sanctuary and it is evident because we found some of the trails they created. Some have even left their scat (poo), which will help us to identify what lives in the area, whether it is squirrels or Big Foot. One of my goals is to learn about the Flora and Fauna so we can manage the site properly. We were told that there are black bears, coyotes and someone has seen a cougar. I know for a fact there is an abundance of wild turkey, because every time we have been to the property, we have seen dozens of them. There is no doubt that this area is a micro zoo. I can’t wait for us to start taking photographs.
We have a plan to find all the animal trails throughout the site and transform them into hiking trails. Animals know the best way to negotiate the wilderness; they use the path of least resistance. This way we won’t be just hacking our way through the trees and shrubs and fighting the lay of the land. Edrianna, Tom, Kathy and any other adventurous volunteer we can muster up are going to pick some weekends to blaze these natural paths.

We will be using machetes at a minimum to be as minimally invasive as possible. It will be like Lewis and Clark. I trust this is the way to go and hope it doesn’t turn into Lewis and Martin (Jerry and Dean) as we make our way thru the jungle. One thing is for sure, this time I’m bringing plenty of band-aids.

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