Monday, June 30, 2014

Bridge at Upper Goose Pond Inlet--June 28, 2014

Apologies, readers.  There's been a bit of a gap in these posts--it's been a busy spring off-Trail, it's taken a while to catch up.

The bridge crossing the inlet stream to Upper Goose Pond is about a mile or so trail south of Upper Goose Pond Cabin, adding in the walk from the road to the Cabin, this is a pretty remote project for us--so our equipment options were limited to what could be carried in.

The original stringers on the bridge were hemlock logs taken from trees nearby the stream.  Pete reports that it took 5 people to carry them to the crossing site once they were felled, limbed and debarked.  These stringers had served well for around 20 years.  Over the past few seasons however, the nails holding the planks on top started working out of the logs--a good indication that things were getting a little soft in there.

Rather than cut new trees, we found some 3x8 timbers that were used in the construction of a house near the UGP Cabin.  The house was torn down a couple of years ago, and we salvaged the useful materials.  Over the winter, Jim and Pete were able to drag 3 timbers across the ice and land them near the work site.  This spring, with the Cabin opening crew, we carried them in the last 1/4 mile on the Trail.

This stringer was all used up
For our project, we stripped the deck planks off of the old stringers--the nails pulled easily from the rotting logs.  As we removed the last of the planks at the north end of the bridge, one of the stringers broke near the sill log.  We definitely got all of the use out of them.

The next challenge was to get the stringers out the stream bed.  With only three of us on the job, we were't about to lift them up and carry them off.
Pete winches the first stringer
onto the bank after Don freed it from the sill

We brought a small come-a-long (a hand powered winch) and by anchoring one end to a convenient tree, were able to drag these stringers up the bank to where we could roll them into the woods where Nature would continue to recycle them.

Stringers resting on rocks, ready for assembly

Our next challenge (after lunch) was to construct a suitable base for the new stringers.  The original sills were in worse shape than the stringers, having laid in the dirt for 20 years.  Fortunately, rocks of suitable shape and size were abundant on both sides of the stream and we were able to stack some up to support the stringers a suitable height above the stream.  The replacement stringers were carried down and landed on the rocks.

At that point, it was just a question of getting them mostly level and the ends even before re-installing the planks.

End planks temporarily attached
 to set stringers
Planking complete, Pete installs an
anchor to restrain the bridge in case
 of high water

As you can see in the photos, this stream was not a particularly challenging obstacle to hikers.  Relatively low banks, and flat bottom, it could be easily forded.  However, in the spring, and during extreme rain events, the brook does get more lively.  Many of our trail visitors in this section are not seasoned hikers, and there is the possibility that they would have trouble crossing this stream at certain times of the year.  Additionally, a bridge protects the banks and vegetation from hikers wandering up and down stream looking for a "better" crossing.  In a way, it concentrates impacts to the environment just like a designated campsite does--keeping more of the woods in a natural state un-trammeled by hikers.

No comments:

Post a Comment