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aka Mental Avenger
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In the mountains and foothills around here there are many places where there is a heavy growth if bushes and small trees at the foot of a steep slope. Perhaps that is because the water runs down the slope and collects there creating lush undergrowth. Whatever.

Here is the challenge. Let’s say I want to dig into the base of the hillside to create room for a place to shelter away from prying eyes. Cutting back 3-4 feet into the hillside and perhaps 8 feet wide, would create a shelter that is protected from the weather, and hidden behind thick brush and undergrowth. If I am lucky, I can find one where there is a layered rocky outcropping with relatively soft soil underneath to make digging easier. I have seen a lot of that sort of layering in this area, sometimes near the bottom, sometimes part ways up. Below is an example of that kind of formation near here.

The problem is getting rid of that much dirt without leaving evidence on the ground created by multiple trips carrying heavy loads. Any suggestions?
 

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If you don’t have to move very far you could build a little road for your self out of filter Cloth and chain-link fence roll out the filter cloth thn the fence on top.
I have moved triaxels trucks through a swamp like this, on hard ground you won’t even leave ruts.
Maybe find a low spot to fill in
 

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Born 120 years too late.
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AS LONG as you are comfortable with the idea that rock like that ages and and can drop on you any time...

Truth is nature is a long time healing and there will be no easy way to do it.

The good news,
if you are in a dry area like the photo you can just carry out buckets and broadcast it by hand and in a couple of days the removed dirt will look like the rest of the dirt.

Doesn't sound like you need to do a lot of digging and it might be easier and simpler to just grit your teeth and do it by hand instead of trying to cover your tracks later and maybe spend more time doing that than just digging your hole.
 

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I don't know about in terrain like yours but around here (fields and woods) a pretty obvious paths is made after using the same trail 3-4 times simply walking through. Can you lay out rocks so they look random than walk on the rocks so you aren't leaving such an obvious trail?

Instead of getting rid of the dirt can you pile it up around where you are digging to make something like walls? From there dig up some plants farther away and plant them in your mounds?

How heavily visited is this area? 10 people a day or 1 person a year may see it? If it is the latter maybe just dig the hole and hopefully by the time someone else stumbles across it nature has done its job and erased proof that you were there?
 

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Tested in the Wilderness
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In the mountains and foothills around here there are many places where there is a heavy growth if bushes and small trees at the foot of a steep slope. Perhaps that is because the water runs down the slope and collects there creating lush undergrowth. Whatever.

Here is the challenge. Let’s say I want to dig into the base of the hillside to create room for a place to shelter away from prying eyes. Cutting back 3-4 feet into the hillside and perhaps 8 feet wide, would create a shelter that is protected from the weather, and hidden behind thick brush and undergrowth. If I am lucky, I can find one where there is a layered rocky outcropping with relatively soft soil underneath to make digging easier. I have seen a lot of that sort of layering in this area, sometimes near the bottom, sometimes part ways up. Below is an example of that kind of formation near here.

The problem is getting rid of that much dirt without leaving evidence on the ground created by multiple trips carrying heavy loads. Any suggestions?
Interesting and I have given a lot of thought over the past 30 plus years even over this subject. Always trying to leave little if any trace. Difficult but doable.

Looks like your land is what looks like much of Wyoming and so many other areas in the western USA. The best word to describe it is "desolate" and dry.

I am glad I have lots of water and trees but too much snow usually. And my land looks more like parts of CO with all of the trees and water in the high mountains.

But with your situation, first I would be careful excavating under a rock and if you or anyone does this make sure you carefully put in braces, support beams etc. At least with any logs or lumber although that would take a lot of hauling.

To get rid of excess dirt I would scatter as much as possible on a high area even so that wind would blow the loose light dirt away. Also put dirt into as many areas as possible such as under other low places. If in the right area where when it rains or snow melt then the dirt could get washed away.

And I would dig and build not too long before winter and snows hit. That is one more reason I like my land is that usually from early October to June it is snow covered and no traces of anything under the snow. And snow melt can wash away dirt if in a stream bed. Looks like you might have some dry stream beds there.

To remove traces of the huge pile of dirt and rocks that I had when I dug the 20x10 by 9 foot deep hole for my bunker underground shelter I put the dirt and rocks in a four foot high, 25 foot long pile. Then I built this on top which is an almost 30 foot long storage and wood shed. The pile of dirt and rocks looks simply like a base that I built the shed on top of it. >

 

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BASS
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I don't know about in terrain like yours but around here (fields and woods) a pretty obvious paths is made after using the same trail 3-4 times simply walking through. Can you lay out rocks so they look random than walk on the rocks so you aren't leaving such an obvious trail?

Instead of getting rid of the dirt can you pile it up around where you are digging to make something like walls? From there dig up some plants farther away and plant them in your mounds?

How heavily visited is this area? 10 people a day or 1 person a year may see it? If it is the latter maybe just dig the hole and hopefully by the time someone else stumbles across it nature has done its job and erased proof that you were there?
I like your thinking. You may think about:

Finding a good rock outcrop and use that. Shore up the roof as they did making tunnels for mining. Use rocks as mentioned to make "blended natural rock wall or similar and use them to place the dirt dug.

Walking on rocks as mentioned will give you a hard path not noticed "from above". Blend in very low vegetation to "blend in with the surroundings".

If you are in an area not used by people much the less your concerns.

I don't know about poisonous snakes in the area. But you can find out and talk with people a similar part of the state and get some good info. Use it!

Snakes taste the air with their mouths. Moth balls/flakes may keep them and other unwanted critters away?

Getting supplies in and out maybe a problem but you have plans for that already I am sure.
 

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Listen to the ghosts
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Looking at the picture, it's not as clear as I would like, but it appears you are looking at an undercut in the bank of an arroyo. If so, you are missing the significance of this statement:

In the mountains and foothills around here there are many places where there is a heavy growth if bushes and small trees at the foot of a steep slope. Perhaps that is because the water runs down the slope and collects there creating lush undergrowth. Whatever.
Water will indeed run off into that arroyo toward the bottom. It will do that for the full length of the arroyo. From all across the surrounding, high area. And it will generate flash floods. This is is how people drown in flash floods in arid areas. Sometimes even if the rain is miles away.

That undercut is caused by water rushing through the arroyo and washing out the softer dirt under the rock outcropping. It will eventually wash enough of the dirt out for the rock shelf to collapse. I don't know how long it will take, but it doesn't matter. You and whatever you have in that undercut will have been washed away in the next flash flood.

Pick a place on higher ground that is not in an arroyo.
 

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The problem is getting rid of that much dirt without leaving evidence on the ground created by multiple trips carrying heavy loads. Any suggestions?
You can't do it instantly. You just have to accept that while you're doing it and for a time afterwards it will look like what it is, a construction zone.

After your done, spread your last load or two of spoil over your road, and then give it a year or five to weather in and vanish.
 

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aka Mental Avenger
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Discussion Starter #13
In the country you're in, a hole like that is exactly what rattlers and other poisonous thing are looking for the stay cool during the day.
Just saying
WW
shoot straight - stay safe
I am familiar with rattle snakes. That is why the first round in my revolver when I am scouting the hills is snake shot. The photo is for illustration and is in a nearby gully, not in the mountains. It is only about two feet back, but we always clear any hole, no matter how small.
 

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aka Mental Avenger
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Discussion Starter #14
If you don’t have to move very far you could build a little road for your self out of filter Cloth and chain-link fence roll out the filter cloth thn the fence on top.
I have moved triaxels trucks through a swamp like this, on hard ground you won’t even leave ruts.
Maybe find a low spot to fill in
Great suggestion. Thank you.
 

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aka Mental Avenger
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4,987 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
AS LONG as you are comfortable with the idea that rock like that ages and and can drop on you any time...
We use a couple short sections of tree trunk as supports.
The good news,
if you are in a dry area like the photo you can just carry out buckets and broadcast it by hand and in a couple of days the removed dirt will look like the rest of the dirt.
The photo is for illustration and is in a nearby gully, not in the mountains. Too much snow in the mountains to take more representative photos.
Doesn't sound like you need to do a lot of digging and it might be easier and simpler to just grit your teeth and do it by hand instead of trying to cover your tracks later and maybe spend more time doing that than just digging your hole.
This was intended to be a semi-temporary shelter situation if I had to head for the mountains (last resort) and had to rest for a week or two to replenish supplies.
 

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aka Mental Avenger
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Discussion Starter #16
Looking at the picture, it's not as clear as I would like, but it appears you are looking at an undercut in the bank of an arroyo.
As noted above, that photo is from a gully in the hills nearby. It is 30 miles from the mountains where I might have to do this.
That undercut is caused by water rushing through the arroyo and washing out the softer dirt under the rock outcropping. It will eventually wash enough of the dirt out for the rock shelf to collapse. I don't know how long it will take, but it doesn't matter. You and whatever you have in that undercut will have been washed away in the next flash flood.
The undercut in the photo is about 30-35 feet up from the bottom, not caused by washing out. The area I would most likely pick would be 300- 400 feet up the side of the mountain, maybe more.
 

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aka Mental Avenger
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Discussion Starter #17
I don't know about in terrain like yours but around here (fields and woods) a pretty obvious paths is made after using the same trail 3-4 times simply walking through. Can you lay out rocks so they look random than walk on the rocks so you aren't leaving such an obvious trail?
Good idea using rocks. In the mountains there are always a lot of game trails made by deer, elk, moose, and other critters. A few rocks to get to the nearest game trail would work.
Instead of getting rid of the dirt can you pile it up around where you are digging to make something like walls? From there dig up some plants farther away and plant them in your mounds?
Although I would pick a spot where there is brush in front of the intended shelter dig, I figured I would probably have to plant some additional bushes to provide better screening.
How heavily visited is this area? 10 people a day or 1 person a year may see it? If it is the latter maybe just dig the hole and hopefully by the time someone else stumbles across it nature has done its job and erased proof that you were there?
This is intended to be a relatively short term, perhaps two week shelter, for after the SHTF. Shouldn’t be too many people walking by. Not intended to build it and come back years later.
 
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