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[ft-l] Trail maintenance in Eglin

Saturday was perfect.  The sky was a vivid blue, not quite as blue as it =
will be later in autumn, the wind was cool with a promise of a chill, =
and we were ready to work.  Eglin is a big place, an expanse of =
wiregrass and longleaf pines, of Yaupon holly, sparkle berry, and live =
oaks, and an occaisional reminder in the form of pieces of scrap metal =
and inch wide twisted iron cables coming out of the ground, that this is =
a military installation .  It took at least a half hour on the =
interstate and then on the red dirt roads to get to the trail access.  =
We mowed and lopped, admiring the fall wild flowers, mostly school bus =
yellow with a few purple ones.  Going down to Alaqua Creek which was =
flowing fast and deep in the places where it narrowed down there were =
small trees that had fallen across the trail after hurricane Barry came =
through and a few big ones that will need to be dealt with later with a =
chain saw.  Christine and I met the SCA crew chief, Steve, and an early =
crew member, Bob, near the creek as we were hiking out to join the =
mowers for lunch. We were to find out that Tom and Ed had gotten stuck =
in the sandy road and needed some help from the other 2 men.  However, =
using FTA ingenuity, and the boards they had used for a ramp to load the =
large mower, they were able to get out with little assistance.  =
Christine's all wheel drive vehicle pulled through easiIy and I thought =
they would be ready to call it a day.  These people don't stop and we =
worked another mile in the opposite direction.  Returning to the shed we =
cut across on some pavement and then on graded roads.  I told about the =
only time I had gotten checked for my recreation pass as we went by =
roads with  gates locked because of the increased security now.  Then a =
black SUV pulled out in front of Tom and Ed and put on blue lights.  It =
was the DOD Law Enforcement and we all had our Eglin passes, but it =
reminded me that mine expires today, October 1.   Anyone who plans to =
hike in Eglin needs to check ahead of time to make sure the trail is =
open and that all necessary permits are secured.  The trail is beautiful =
and the weather is great and all of the advance planning is worth it.

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