Andrew Brook Waterbars, Oct. 10 & 19

by Craig Sanborn

Four volunteers turned out and built two rock waterbars on the first slope uphill from the trailhead. One earned his tartan for 3 days' work and is now a Cardigan Highlander.

Sat 10/10 was overcast, cool, and dark under the tree canopy. We could still see well enough to choose a site above the steepest part of the grade, and set two-hand rocks in a shallow trench with each leaning on its neighbors. The bar is about 8' long. We then dug the ditch for runoff water uphill of that, and packed the soil from that up against the line of rocks to make a berm so high that it will divert water down the new ditch and off the trail. This works so long as the ditch is cleaned of debris at least in May, after leaf-fall and snowmelt.

Tue 10/19 was sunny and delightful. Two of us built a new waterbar about 5' lower and 70' downhill of the top one. We were able to use existing rocks, and ditch on the uphill side of them for about half the 12' length. For the rest, we ended up quarrying 12 rocks that were either slabby or very irregular in shape, and setting those in shallow trenches with the bottom course sloping uphill and supporting higher ones so they will not slide downhill. We actually found three of them atop a boulder next to the trail, where they sat for decades until needed. Maybe an earlier crew worked there, maybe it was just convenient to leave them there... We finished the job by digging a ditch with pick and shovel, uphill of the rock wall and bermed up by it. The ditch is small in cross-section, but will carry water well since it has a slope of about 10 to 15 degrees.

That slope being now much better drained against erosion, we consider that job to be done. We then broke for lunch, then went our ways. Another good day on the trail.

Bruce James