8/26: Retirees Redeck 8′ Bridge on West Ridge Trail

Back in April 1986, by request of the ranger-in-charge, we moved West Ridge Trail from its old route across a bog to a parallel route just to the north that crosses gently sloping ground, which made it possible to drain that route. We built the first bridge across a small brook, two stringers of local fir. They rotted in about 9 years, we used them as waterbars awhile, and they are now barricade beside the trail. The second bridge there we made of roughsawn 4x4x8' spruce, but that did not last long due in part to the small cross section of the stringers.

In 2006 we built the bridge there now, with 4x4x8' stringers on 4x4x4' sills, all PT rated for ground contact. Today we re-decked it with what amounts to the third deck it has had, of 2x6x2' roughsawn hemlock boards stashed nearby by a YMCA teen crew guided by a Cardigan Highlander on August 3. The material gives hikers' feet a good grip, and it stays dry enough that it usually lasts ~8 years. The photos give an idea of how two retired crew made even this simple task easier by a little teamwork and planning ahead.

When we finished this job, we heard thunder to windward, so we hiked downhill as the thunder got louder. We returned to the trailhead a few minutes before the storm rolled through, with heavy rain and loud thunder all around us, plus lightning hitting close. The Clyde Smith rain shelter made all that rather entertaining.

Craig Sanborn, CHVTC Trailmaster