Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Repairs to Cooper Brook Bridge

June 10 and 13, 2017

This lengthy bridge spans an old beaver meadow, now just a stream surrounded by an occasionally wet field.  Last year, one of the old telephone poles serving as stringers for this bridge gave way and was temporarily shored up over the winter.

Last Saturday a team of six volunteers transported about 2000lbs of materials from the road down to the work site--including a 16ft long telephone pole estimated to weigh around 600lbs.  Beartown State Forest donated the used pole for this project.
Wheels make all the difference

Using a trail cart, we were able to move the pole with three people, except where we had to lift the cart (and the pole) over the rocky stream between the road and Cooper Brook.

Lunch Break
In addition to the pole, day one of the project was also spent transporting material for 92 new planks to replace about 75% of the existing planks on the bridge.  We got started on the far end with plank replacement before wrapping up for the day.

On Day two, we stripped all the planks off of the broken stringer and removed it from the cribbing that supports the bridge.  Clearly, time had come for replacement, as the thing pretty much crumbled as we pried it off of its supports.
Prying off the south end
The north end was easy

Carefully moving the new pole into place
We then carefully moved the new pole into position, moving it a foot at a time, using the adjacent stringer for support.  We were then able to roll it into position, and secure it to the cribbing at each end.

A little work with a draw knife to smooth the transition between new and existing stringers, and we were ready to install planks on the new section.  Meanwhile, along the remainder of the bridge, we also pulled up older, failing planks and replaced them with new ones.
Plank replacement

The entire bridge uses 6 stringers like the one we replaced, two of them over 20ft long.  While at the time the bridge was originally installed the area supported an active beaver population, at present the area is reverting to meadow and we may want to consider an alternative way to cross the stream, rather than needing to maintain and repair such a large structure.  Some ideas include just creating a span across the main stream and step stones or bog bridges over the marshy areas, using the old beaver dam as a walkway (a long-established method in Vermont and Maine), or using large step stones to create a permanent route across the entire area.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Upper Goose Pond Cabin Opening Day

You just know that the hiking season is upon us when the cabin is open, so welcome to another hiking season! 
Yesterday our crew of 8 (later joined by Joanne for a total of 9) headed up the hill shortly after 9AM to open the cabin for the season. At the blue blaze trail, Russ headed east to the AT to post the cabin open sign while the rest of us continued to the cabin.   Due to the pending rain and the fact that a couple of our crew had to leave early, we tackled the dock first. With the pieces afloat we left Cosmo and Juliana to finish up the bolting together process while the rest of the crew went back up the hill to the cabin. 

  Joanne and Bonnie tackled the kitchen; Jim, Russ, Hank and Dave tackled the shutters; Juliana and Cosmo paddled over to the Leisure Lee dock to pickup the goods Joanne had left there and Pete got the wash table and personal wash stations setup.   There after every one took a chore or 2 from the list and by shortly before noon the list of items yet to be done was getting pretty slim, so a lunch break was declared.  Here's a couple photos of the mornings activities:

After finishing up the few remaining items, Dave, Russ and Hank headed downhill while Pete got a fire going in the fireplace (the rain had not started yet but it was chilly).  Shortly Bonnie and then Julianna also left as the list was pretty much done. Juliana met Mike and Penny headed up the hill with quite a load.  Rumor has it Julianna gave them a hand bringing a load up to the cabin. 

Cosmo and Jim made an attempt to install the new sign frame at the channel entrance, but we will have to come up with another plan as the digging was just impossible.

Lastly, here's a shot of Pete touching up the AT logo on our new canoe earlier in the week on a beautiful spring day.
So, cabin's open folks let the fun begin!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

About time for a new post I'd say, overtime.  Will try to be better at this in 2017.  In any event our 2017 Project season is well underway with trail clearing and natural heritage projects already completed.  But not to worry, there are many more opportunities going forward.  Just check in at: and then click the 2017 Schedule link to see what we're up to.

Well yesterday was a great day to get out in the woods.  The touch of snow on Greylock didn't make us hesitate one bit as we drove up to the Jones Nose parking area on the south side of the mountain.  With some doubts we decided to chance it and Cosmo drove his Tacoma down Old Adams Rd to the bridge (no problem as it turned out) making for a much shorter carry up to the Noepel shelter.

Once there, Pete and Cosmo unhinged the old beat up door on the privy and started fashioning a new one.  Mike and I went to work unloading the resting side of the privy, distributing 13 buckets full of decomposed material to the forest floor and bagging a considerable quantity of non-degradables.  Once again, baby wipes took the prize for most commonly disposed of non-degradable.  It really would be nice of folks would either bag em and take them out or switch to good old TP!

Hey, how about some pics!  OK, here's what happens when we don't regularly knock the cone down:
We also noted that some folks have been filling the duff bucket with leaves, not duff (read the instructions folks!).  This made the pile very clumpy and will necessitate more frequent mixing to ensure the pile decomposes properly over the next couple of years.  OK, probably more than you even wanted to know about privies.  Here's a shot of our crew positioning the privy over the newly emptied pit.
While at the site we also posted a caution sign at the water source advising hikers to treat their water and scouted for opportunities to expand the tenting areas.  With the privy all set, I headed back down the hill to scout a washed out area about a mile south of Old Adams Rd.  Here's what it looks like:
And, lastly, here's the brand new privy door about done and ready for customers.
Looks pretty good, don't you think!  So till next time have a great time out there, leave no trace and join us on a project of your choosing.