Sunday, November 11, 2012

One More Time-Race Brook Bridge

Our party of 7, hiked up the hill on a beautiful Saturday to find our bridge project as we had left it and with a bit of leftover snow on the ground here and there.  We set right to work rolling the upstream stringer over on it's back and finishing up the notches we had started on our last visit.  With that work in progress, Don and Richard headed on up the hill to the Race Brook Campsite and to the AT to check on conditions, blowdowns, etc.  We were soon satisfied with the notches on the upstream stringer, rolled it over for a check and finding it just right marked it's location on the sills for future use.  Then came positioning the downstream stringer and scribing the shape of the sills below up onto the stringer.  Finding our simple compass unsatisfactory for the purpose, Bob suggested using a stick cut to length for the depth of the notch we wanted.  This worked like a champ and we soon had a set of well marked stringer notchs.  The picture below shows a finished notch and the marking and starter cuts in the upstream stringer.

Finished Notch on the Left, Notch Ready for waste removal on the right

With lunch time at hand, Don and Richard returned from the campsite and AT with a couple large bags of trash and abondanded gear and reports of several smaller blowdowns removed and 1 large blowdown just upstream needing a chainsaw. 
After cutting down to our marks
Jim chainsaws down to our notch marks

...... it was chip away at the waste wood in the notches, taking turns with 2 gougues and 1 flat chisel with an occasional chipping away with a hatchet.  Meanwhile, Jim, Christine and Richard hiked to the upstream blowdown and made quick work of its removal.

 During breaks in the notching work, some of the crew followed an ancient custom and carved their initials in the underside of the log for posterity

The notches were soon done, test fit found them nicely resting over the sills and so it was time to mark the tops for flattening (oh and another cookie from Mary's cache)!

Marking the flat top with pencil and chalk line

Then the sawing to the marks and chipping with the hatchets began in earnest

And last the most important full load test of the completed Bridge!

Don, Christine, Loren, Bob, Mary, Jim, Richard

With eastern standard time back in effect, we packed up at 3PM and headed back down hill to reach Rt 41 before darkness arrived.  We had one blowdown to remove just beyond the stream crossing between the upper and lower falls.  Fortunately the other blowdowns all went downhill away from the trail.  We had a great day in the woods and were quite satisifed with completion of our bridge and the work we accomplished! 

My thanks to all who participated on this project.  We had a great time, our bridge will have a good long life and carry many a hiker safely over Race Brook.

Note: most of the pictures on this and the other posts on this project were taken by our ace photographer, Richard (thanks much Richard!).

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