Trails or no trails. When you have a trail to follow, your way is easier. Whether deer have created it, or it is man made, trails can get you into places with less dodging and ducking, better footing. It can be very peaceful to stroll along and just take in the woods around you. But if deer go along it, they browse while they walk, meaning you miss out on seeing some things. You also are limited by where the path goes. You may walk within feet of something remarkable and never notice it. With no trails you pay more attention. You move slower and need to look around more, just to see where your next step will land. But you need to duck under, climb over, push through. You need to backtrack and rethink your plan. You cover less ground, but more thoroughly. You see things that you might never of seen otherwise. Of course it is easier to get "unsure of your location". If you walk looking down, you can get turned around easily, especially on cloudy days.
Like most things in life, there is a balance. Sometimes the trails, sometimes off. So I have been enlarging existing deer trails through some of the wild area. Trimming back branches, whatever can be dealt with using a hand pruner. If you are interested in knowing where some of these trails wander, just ask me. I'll be happy to show you!
On another train of thought, do you know where turkeys nest? I didn't. I didn't really give it any thought. I was surprised to come upon a hen turkey sitting on a nest in the middle of a tamarack bog area! We parted ways peacefully, as I was looking for Small Yellow Ladyslippers, not turkeys! The Ladyslippers are at the end of their bloom, but I was happy to see 5 blossoms this year instead of the 3 from the past two years! In the whole village I have only found this one clump. Maybe next year I will get out at the right time to look over some other good areas.
Things are changing out there in the woods on a daily basis. Get out there and breathe in the peace!