Sometimes trail work doesn't go quite as imagined and our September workday seemed to be one of those days. The plan was to spend the morning working with the State Crew on a new bridge on Skyline-to-Sea near the Maddock Cabin Site with the afternoon reserved for prepping the Sky Meadow Ramada for the October overnight.
Everything started well as we drilled holes in the bridge abutments and then used a sledge to drive sections of rebar through to secure the abutment to the ground. Or so we thought.
As we worked later to install the mudsill at one end of the bridge we noticed the abutment at the other end had lifted about a inch on one corner despite being secured by rebar. Personally I wasn't sure if the rebar wasn't long enough or if it was the sandstone that was in the immediate area, but it just wasn't holding tight. Jose from the State Crew was puzzled by the problem and not immediately sure how best to resolve it, so we decided to break for the day on the bridge work. Fortunately another part of the crew had gone up the trail a little further to split a log for later use as borders on the bridge approach, so there was some success for the morning.
Despite the frustration of not being able to make more progress on the bridge, I did walk the section of STS that has been worked on this summer between the Maddock Cabin area and near Creeping Forest and the improvements are remarkable. Low lying sections that used to flood in winter have been raised, trails widened to keep from collapsing into the creek, turnpikes installed and foot bridges built. Of course we'll have to wait until winter to see how it holds up, but first impressions are it looks great!
Part of the crew decided to leave at the lunch break, but the remainder made their way to Sky Meadow where they used the Zombie electric chainsaw to remove a 2-ft tree blocking the trail to the Ramada, trimmed a branch overhanging the chimney, made minor repairs to steps and cleaned out the storage closet.
Nothing like digging into an area that hasn't been opened in well over a decade! It took more than a while to remove the huge amount of decayed firewood and acorns left by the residents who had moved in since the closet was last cracked open.
The crew put in 83 hours including the 3 day training John Collins took on crosscut saw techniques and the workday crew Michele Gelblum, Elena Kelareva, Mike Peasland, Devdutt Sheth, Dale Stadelman, Chris Young, and newcomer Tommy Ha along with Jose and Eamon from the State Crew, for their efforts.
photos by Mike and Chris