The new South Wilcox shelter built in 2007 has the usual patio out front under the shelter overhang. The patio was constructed by building up a rock retaining wall and filling the interior with rocks and mineral soil to create a level area that the picnic table could sit on, under cover of the shelter overhang. In a project earlier this year we moved the privy at this site, (which had not been moved for 10 years by the way!) and made repairs to the rock retaining wall around the patio.
So today our project team of Don and I started out with buckets of mineral soil from the pit behind the shelter to level the patio. We used a long board found under the shelter as a screed to flatten and level the area. The leveling was done by eye as yours truly forgot to bring along a level! I would guess we put down a dozen or so buckets of mineral soil to accomplish this part of the job. Then we mixed buckets of mineral soil with concrete (we had previously lugged in a 94# bag of cement!) in a ratio of 3 to 1 and spread the mix about 1/2" to 1" thick over the whole area. Lastly it was time to sprinkle water over the whole area and watch the cement set. Well actually we decided to have lunch!
Here's what it looks like all done:
We put boards around the patio and posted a sign on the shelter center post asking hikers not to step on the patio until Friday and to feel free to put the picnic table back on the patio at that time. Hopefully the cement will have set by then.
The idea of this whole effort is to reduce the amount of dirt that gets into the shelter from hiker foot traffic by providing a relatively hard dirt free surface in this area. It should also make for a surface that is less likely to get uneven and erode. There is a bit more rock work that could be done to strengthen the corner opposite the stairs but all in all we have a much improved patio.
We have a number of open project days on our schedule this year. If this effort at South Wilcox is successful, we may try to make the same improvement at the Noepel shelter later this year. Anyone got some good ideas on how to lug 94#'s of cement up to Noepel?