9/16/23: Andrew Brook Trail Ditch-a-palooza

Wind from hurricane Lee was loud in the treetops when we four met on Mountain Road at 0900. We were to fix drainage issues on the first half mile of the trail, downhill of its second crossing of Andrew Brook. We were two new volunteers, a Team Leader, and the Trailmaster. What with introductions, safety briefing, and loading packs, we hiked up the trail about 0930. We lugged bars, picks, shovels, and 5' loops of webbing. Hey, at least it looked like we were there on business.

As we ascended, we cleaned drains of sediment and ditches of blowdowns, being efficient by working smarter rather than harder. As we have 240 drains to clean on trails we adopt, that becomes quite necessary. Thus we arrived at the big job of the day: remove large rocks from a trailside ditch dug in 2018, we are tired of digging out leaf dams they trap. We used bars to pry them up from their resting places, bars as rails to slide them to where we could lift them, and webbing to rig them in a choker hitch to pull them uphill by two people using a bar through the hitch as a handle. We set them in new holes dug in soil, so they may stay there, right by the trail...Whew! better you see the photos.

Three rocks out of the ditch this way, and after lunch we improved the trail where it crosses the same ditch upstream. There are now two rocks @ ~ 300 lbs. beside, touching, and supporting each other, upstream one shingled by downstream one, 3/4 buried in deep soil, and tops at the same level as the older step on the other side that people step off from so as to cross the ditch when it carries water. We moved one rock we had dug up from the ditch downstream, it fitted well. But please see the photos.

We then hiked uphill to the second crossing of the brook, where we considered the question of a bridge at that place. Pros and cons, ways and means. No decision, but everyone was consulted. On the way back downhill we sawed away two 6" trees that fell across the trail that day. Each one was rotted at the ground from having died some years ago.

So, we did some needed work, learned some tricks of this trade, and had fun. Not so bad for six hours in the woods.

Craig Sanborn, CHVTC

9/16/23 Andrew Brook Trail
Rock Shingling