Here's Our Plan For Trail Blazing
We wanted to take full advantage of the waterfront are of our property.
But to get there we needed to thread our way through the narrow property lines and ensure that an excavator could get through it as well without touching the adjacent property lines.
TIP: Google earth makes it incredibly simple to map out your property. Provided the satellites have done a recent fly by over your property. Chances nowadays are good that they have.
We go into greater detail of exactly how we used Google earth, an online real estate app and our cell phones to precisely locate our property markers. this was critical in marking the trail that we wanted to blaze. You can read more about how we did it here.
I’ll be the first to admit that we really underestimated the whole blazing the trail by hand. It seemed it might take just a day or so with our new hand tools.
Definitely this was not the outcome for us.
To be clear, the road builder who was going to put in our gravel road (from the top of Hidden Lane to the build site) needed a narrow trail to follow to ensure his excavator operator did not go outside the narrow lines of our property.
The Trail blazing Tools We Used
We began clearing out the area where the cabin will be built using nothing more than a couple hand tools.
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The Ultimate List Of Must Have Off Grid Tools
We’re often asked which tools we’ve personally used and recommend when building an off grid home.
We’ve crafted for you a most detailed tools list and broken it all down into six sections.
SHOW ME THE LIST!
Look, I know better than anyone that if you go out into the woods ill prepared you better be ready for a Search & Rescue (SAR) team to show up, find you, and then FINE you.
I should know, I’ve plucked my share of stranded hikers, mountain climbers and even the odd homesteader off the ground and flown them to safety when I flew military helicopters.
Never go out onto your property un-prepared no matter how big or small your property. Or based on how close it might be to the nearest road to civilization. And above all don’t go out unprepared thinking your expertise will save you.
Whether it be for a build project in the woods or even just a lengthy stroll around the area. Go prepared and you’ll be ready for anything.
One of the things we do when one of us is out on the lake, down the road for a hike or just cutting down firewood in the woods is bring a 2-way radio.
We found the BEST one for our needs here at the cabin is the Midland – GXT1000VP4.
This particular model had 50 channels, is a full GMRS two-way radio, has up to a 36 mile range, is waterproof, and has the NOAA weather scan plus alert.
By now you know that it took us only a few swings of the axe and a few hacks with the hatchet before we realize the sheer magnitude of this trail.
This wasn’t something we were going to get done within our timeline.
And it’s one of the reasons I started this website.
I’d prefer to open and honest about things I did wrong in the hopes that it prevents you from going down some of the same roads we did.
Now that’s not to say you can’t clear your own land by hand. In fact, it can be very satisfying. It’s definitely great exercise and can save a ton of money vs using only heavy equipment.
Our issue is that we had a very strict timeline that we needed to have the land cleared by so that our road builder could get in his equipment and start the road.
For smaller trees and saplings we used a Stanley 610mm mid sized bow saw.
For a great hand-tool that’s lightweight and does a phenomenal job on the small stuff we used a Fiskars brush axe.
Reality Check… We Needed A Chainsaw
So after those initial few hours of swinging the bush axe, wielding a bow saw and clipping at saplings it was quite apparent we were not going to be living the pioneer lifestyle and blazing a trail by hand. Forget about that!
This is where our Husqvarna 240 14-in 38cc Chainsaw finally came into play.
We’ve now had it for over two years and it’s as good as the day we got it.
I love that it’s a smaller saw making it fairly lightweight and has a very little vibration.
TIP: Keeping your blade sharp will extend the life both the chain and the saw.
A sharp chain will cut quicker and more straight than one that’s dull. Another perk of a shark chain is that it uses less fuel.
You can’t be without blade sharpening kit and this is the one we’ve found does the trick for us.
Husqvarna Chainsaw Blade File Kit
The saw made the first 100ft we blazed by hand seem like unnecessary torture.
With the chainsaw we were able to cut a trail all the way from the build site up to the road in just over three days.
That would have taken months if he had gone with our original plan of doing it by hand.
However my wife “smiling” for the camera as we hacked away at the first 100 feet.
Gotta love her spirit and ambition.
My wife ready with good intentions of cutting 650ft of trees, stumps, shrubs and roots.
Stopping to take a break and just enjoying the silence of the sun!
We burned through 2 rolls of red trail tape to mark off the trail.
Hard to imagine this is where we’ll be building a 24ft X 20ft cabin!
The left overs of just the 40ft X 60 ft area that we’re clearing for the building area.
No chain saw in the world is going to get these stumps out!
We’re finally starting to see something of a trail!
Now… that’s something we can walk down every day!
Last day Trail Blazing… WHEW!
So far it’s been actually been a lot of fun blazing the trail with my wife.
We wanted the full “homesteader/off grid” experience and so far… we feel like we’re getting it.
We’re also excited to get our access road put in so that we can get the building materials delivered right down at the build site.
There’s something truly magical about creating a path through the woods that will forever be the access route to the home you built with your own two hands.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the Trail Blazing part of our journey.
So what do you think of our trail blazing techniques so far?
If you have some tips, advice, personal experience or an off grid trail blazing story of your own then please go ahead and share it below for everyone.
This phase of the build is pretty physically intensive and might not be for everyone.
Don’t worry… it gets easier from here!
P.S. You may have seen our other posts about the cabin but have you seen the entire build from start to finish? Check it out in our Building The Cabin section here.
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