Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Upper Goose Pond Cabin Access Gate

August 14, Access Gate Repairs--Upper Goose Pond Cabin

The gate at Rt 20 that controls vehicular access to the Upper Goose Pond Cabin Caretaker's trailhead has sagged to the point where it has not been able to lock for the past several years.

To control motorized access to the Cabin and adjacent AT Corridor lands, we received permission from MassHighway to restore the gate to lockable condition and install a combination lock.  The gate will normally be locked, except during deer hunting season, and the combination transmitted to UGPC Caretakers, and local emergency responders.  The combination can be changed as needed.  The gate does not impede foot travel.

This Tuesday, Pete and Cosmo brought a load of supplies and gear to the worksite.  Fortunately, we were able to drive close to the gate since we not only had the usual digging tools but a small concrete mixer, 700lbs of concrete mix and about 20 gallons of water.
The First Load

Once we got situated, we proceeded to dig out the ground around the hinge post of the gate.  We had originally thought that the post was just set into the ground, but soon found it had been set in concrete--'tho not nearly enough concrete to support the long swing arm of the gate.

While Cosmo made the initial excavation, Pete set a ground anchor to support a wire rope backstay that will help the hinge post stay vertical.
 Fortunately, digging was fairly easily, as the entire area was mostly sand.  This loose soil may have contributed to the sagging of the gate.
Excavation is Complete

While we thought this job would just be a simple re-setting of the hinge post to lift the gate arm, we found that the entire post needed to be scooched to the right about 1.5".  To do this, we set the chain fall between the hinge post and latch post and dragged the hinge side closer with a few quick tugs.

Stabilizing the excavated gate was a bit tricky, and we had a few bad moments as the thing tipped first one way then the other--no photos here, as we had our hands full keeping things together!

Finally we were ready to add fresh concrete to the post.
Pete tends the mixer

Filled to the top.  Note backstay by Pete's foot
After disposing of the first 8 bags, it was clear we were going to need more, so Cosmo headed off to town to pick up 6 more and another 5 gallons of water.  Upon his return, we mixed up the remaining batches and topped off the hole.

Pete sets a sign post.
A few "No Parking" signs between the gate and the road and we were ready to tidy up.  Don joined us for the final hour--he was away checking conditions at Race Brook Falls campsite.  It was quite a tiring day, despite the fact that we were able to park right at the worksite.  Those last 3-4 bags of concrete seemed to be much heavier than 80lbs each.

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