Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Caught Ya!

I've talked about the "bluff" where my property line ends and how people are constantly driving, walking or bicycling up to it and looking down at me while I'm working with the horses.  Drivers often hit the dead end and turn around there, despite the road having plenty of warning signs on it that it is a dead end.

So, today I was busily cleaning house to prepare for Thanksgiving when I noticed a truck parked up on the bluff, which is essentially the property line to my back yard.  I grabbed my camera to take a picture to show you the perspective from my porch.

That's my riding arena between the brown fences, and that bluff that leads all the way up to the white fence is a part of my back yard.  There's a deep arroyo at the base of the bluff where rainwater is channeled and coyotes roam.

Next thing I knew, while I was taking these pictures, the driver exited his truck and began hiking into my back yard.
Here he is reading the NO HIKERS sign at the back of my property, which is very large, but hard to see from this angle, because it is behind a bush...

He spent a lot of time standing up there surveying the neighborhood to see if anyone was out or at home who could stop him.  He didn't see me.  When I finished with my photos I was going to hike out there and let him know I was home, but I became interested in the psychology of people who trespass despite reading the signs.  I was so enthralled with what he was going to do next, that I delayed chasing him off.  Now he's looking over at my neighbor's property to see if anyone is out to prevent him from hiking there...

He was carrying a satchel filled with water, and appeared to be prepared for a long hike, but people's back yards is a rather odd spot to begin such a journey.  Upon not seeing any signs of life, he headed to the north, but stopped short when he realized that he was blocked by fences...

He did eventually come to his senses and climb back up to his truck to drive off.  He really only needed to drive one more block down and he would have been at the public land where he could park and hike legally.  So, this guy didn't have any bad intentions.  He just didn't have the grace to respect the signs.  I wondered if perhaps he was returning to the area where he grew up and hiked many years ago before my neighborhood was built.

This stranger's visit reminded me to hike up there myself and take pictures looking down and also to take a picture of the sign, which needed to be white washed and re-painted with a more definite message.  I've just been waiting for it to cool down enough for me to stand out there painting.  We're still in the 80's, which isn't too bad, but 70's is optimal for me to do outdoor labor.  The first thing I noticed upon hiking down into the arroyo was that my neighbor posted a new sign letting trespassers know that they will be prosecuted.

Then I saw that either my husband or my neighbor added a new sign to the bottom of the old sign...

You can see the evolution of messages added and changed on the old sign over the years as people overstepped their bounds.  It appears that the sign was originally put up to keep out the motorized vehicles.  Horses and hikers were allowed, and then someone whited out part of the message and the "K" in "HIKERS" almost as if they ran out of white paint.  Either that or they were trying to turn the word "HIKERS" into "RIDERS".  Then they got red paint and added "NO HIKERS".  When we moved in, the status was "HORSES & HI*ERS at Own Risk".  The neighbor added "NO ACCESS" pointing at his property, and  the old owners added the red arrow pointing at a specific trail on their property.  I think what they were trying to say was that the horses could follow the red arrow.

The problem was that none of this was terribly clear, and the horseback riders went wherever they wanted.  After re-reading this sign it was no wonder why that hiker stood up there scratching his head for so long and looking around.  So, I think we still need to white wash the old sign and put in a definite message that can't be misinterpreted.

Here's the view that the people have when they park or stand up on the bluff looking down into our back yard...

Gabbrielle and Bombay always get worked up when people are up on the bluff, even if it's just me taking pictures...

Tails up, necks arched, nostrils snorting.  I've seen them charge horseback riders who rode along the fence.  Their watchdog ways made it into a not very safe or pleasant ride for some.  I was worried that my own horses were going to cause a wreck for someone else.  Then there's the dogs who bust through the screen door when horseback riders pass through...

Grrrr.  Psycho dogs.  Scrappy looks like a cross between a Bulldog and an otter.  Midgie is an alien mouse.

12 comments:

sydney K said...

Gosh that's annoying. Why not get a new piece of wood and nail it over top of the old one? Would save you from painting in a vertical position.

fernvalley01 said...

funny how folks can look straight at the sign and still need to think about whether or not to ignore it

Cindy Durham said...

Have you considered strategicly placed bear traps?
I'm kidding of course, but it sure seems like they are not getting the message.
I think I would be inclined to put up one that said. "we do not hike, ride, or cycle through your property, please do not do tresspass through ours."
Not sure it would work, but maybe.
Happy Thanksgiving!

achieve1dream said...

I'm liking the idea of lining the entire back side of your property with fast growing, vicious cactus!! That way there won't be a trail down from the road at all unless they want to jump their horses over a cactus.... that would be dumb, but people are dumb. I hope the weather cools off soon so you can fix your sign. :) I'm still wondering if you could also build a privacy fence across the end of that road so they can't see your house/property, but seeing the pictures now I realize it would have to be a pretty long/tall fence and that would be very expensive. :( I hope you find a solution soon.

Paint Girl said...

From the view point of where the hiker tried to come in and seeing the sign... it doesn't even look like there is anywhere to hike. I just see houses, fences and horses. Strange. Is there a trail close to your backyard that is an actual hiking trail? I know you have trails back there, but doesn't make sense that a person would attempt to hike there unless they were familar with the area like you said. The sign definitely is confusing!!
The pyscho dogs look adorable to me!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Paint Girl - The trails that do exist were carved into the mountain by hikers and horseback riders who have been taking those paths whether permitted or not. Today we took a hike and came full circle into our back yard, and sometime between when I took the pictures for this post and Thanksgiving, someone else laid a branch and a bunch of debris across the top of the trail into our back yard, so other neighbors are getting sick of the traffic through our property too.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Plenty of rocks available, free to use- just start piling them up across the 'trail'. Before you know it you will have a substatial wall, all natural and keeping people Out. At least he didn't appear to be scoping things out for bad reasons.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

CNJ - I have to laugh at the word "just". If you're not careful, I'm going to volunteer you to do it. I have noticed on my walks that a lot of homeowners around here set up handmade rock walls and cactus walls around the perimeter of their properties, but they are working on flat ground. One neighbor even removed his front door, turned it into a window, and planted an impenetrable cactus garden in front of it, so that no one could get to his house. The only way in from the front is through the garage, and he keeps the garage door closed all the time.

In my case, a rock wall, planting cactus or sprinkling cholla burrs are not options for various reasons. Just one of those reasons is that the ground is very hard and on a vertical slope. Once we get to flat ground, we are on another person's property, so I'd have to go into negotiations with that neighbor over building walls, fences or planting stuff, and this neighbor is friends with one of the biggest trespassers on my property.

I'm guessing there's a reason why the previous owner's sign is down the slope a ways. The people who live back there probably didn't want it up higher ruining their view. I could do stuff at the top of the closer slope of the arroyo, but don't want to block myself from accessing my own property. I just have to train people.

achieve1dream said...

Hmm that answers my question about the fence. Darn! With most cactus you don't have to plant it do you? We also just threw them down and they spread LOL! Of course if you want them to grow they would probably die hehehe. Do you plan to ride the horses up that way? If you don't need access to it I would try the cactus along the backside of your property. Good luck finding a solution!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

The view looking down onto your property is very pretty..and rugged looking. I can see why some folks might be interested in going hiking there. Here in new Mexico, arroyos are commonly used as trails, and that arroyo looks like a great place to ride or hike.
I also wonder if perhaps all these people who are looking down into that area at the back of your property might even be geocaching. Have you checked the website? Are there any geocaches near your house?

~Lisa

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - Yes, I've used the geocache map a lot. All the caches in my area are on public land. I had that thought too. We went out to dinner with our neighbors last night and they told us something interesting. Several years ago the arroyo flooded, and people were dropping their kids into the flowing water at the backs of our properties. My neighbor went out that and told them to stop. Not only was it dangerous, with all that fast flowing debris, but they were trespassing on private property. The mother yelled at her and said, "No, it isn't. All these washes are owned by the county."

So, there is a misconception that washes can't be privately owned, but all I know is that I paid for an acre of natural wash. I know I can't do much with it, but I just consider it more space where someone can't build behind me. My neighbor actually has a horse pen that goes down the bank into the arroyo. It's got steel fencing, so it shouldn't wash away when the water flows, and they just pull their horses out of there during the rainy season.

People are better off riding and hiking on the public land one block away, because the arroyos wind back and forth through main roads, and it's dangerous to cross in a ditch on a road, because the drivers can't see you.

Tammy said...

Most definitely a confusing sign. I did laugh at the pic of the guy. By the looks of the beer belly, he is either on a mission to lose it or wouldn't hike long! LOL!