There is a trail that is only known to a few locals, although more people are discovering it. When D. showed it to me last year, it was faint in places. Now it is more defined and wide. I even saw three mountain bikers on it yesterday. Regardless, though it is near a popular, crowded trail, there is abundant solitude here.
Recently we found something new on this trail. Several signs warned aggressively of no trespassing, and several stakes decorated a section of the ridge. Orange flagging was lettered with words like "garage" and "living room." Someone had obviously purchased this plot of land right on the trail, and was determined to build a large house there.
In order to build, they will have to extensively level the ridge that they have staked out. They will bring in heavy equipment, tear up the hill, and cut down the trees. Our trail, and our access, will be gone.
Over thirty thousand people moved here during the pandemic. They aren't coming to work at Wendy's; the majority of them are remote workers or self-employed, fleeing their crowded states. Most likely whoever is building up there is one of them.
I know that the economy marches on, and real estate is at a premium. I'm not from here either, despite having moved to this state fifteen years ago. This ridge we traversed must have been private land to begin with, albeit with no signs or owners around. It was probably only a matter of time.
For now, I slip past the signs, a small act of defiance. Soon this won't be possible; this gorgeous, quiet ridge will be off limits. I can't help but feel sad about it.