Remember all of that wood fencing that I tore down and just left scattered about more or less where it fell? (see the F___ You, Fence! post). Well, believe it or not, it’s still just lying around like a giant game of pick-up sticks. Since I’m hoping to repurpose some of that wood to build technical trail features, I need to get it off the ground so it doesn’t rot and, ideally, locate it somewhat centrally on the property. Unfortunately, the relatively flat spot that I wanted to use was covered with a forest of California Yerba Santa. While Yerba Santa is purported to have some medicinal applications and isn’t particularly unattractive (although I’d say it’s not particularly attractive either), it also spreads by sending out suckers underground. By letting it grow close to our driveway, it had eventually spread underneath the driveway and busted right through the chip seal. Crap.
Between compromising our driveway in several spots and now being in the way of stacking wood for technical trail features, I was done with the friggin’ Yerba Santa. Thus began another two-week pause in actual trail work — the “Santa Pause” 🙂 —so that I could eradicate, hopefully once and for all, the Yerba Santa. It had spread to cover an area that was probably fifty feet in diameter or possibly more, and that included, without exaggeration, hundreds and hundreds of individual shoots. A couple of years earlier I’d had a buddy cut it all down using a saw-type blade on a weedwhacker, but it all just grew back. I didn’t want to use herbicide on an area that large, so I started pulling it up by hand.
The shoots can be anywhere from just a few inches to several feet tall. I put a tarp (probably 8′ x 10′) on the ground and just started pulling up the Yerba Santa and piling it on the tarp. Once the tarp was full, I’d drag it about fifty yards to a burn pile. Day after day I would use my “trail time” to go out and pull a tarp-ful of Yerba Santa. At least one tarp per day.
I wish I had taken a picture before I started because the comparison would have been pretty striking. Oh well. Just picture this entire area covered with dark green shrubbery a few feet tall. At least I got all of the Yerba Santa pulled and all of the fence wood stacked. Now hopefully I can get back to tasks that are more directly trail-related. 🙂