Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ice Capades at Hope Lake

It's been a slow month for trail parties due to the weather, but Saturday morning the Trails Committee met at Hope Lake to see what steps needed to be done to take down the arch bridge at The Point. Nobody really came prepared with all the tools to take down the bridge since this was more of a recon party, but after some discussion we decided to start using the tools that we had on hand. In the meantime a couple of folks went back to pick up drills with charged batteries, jacks, crowbars, sledgehammers, and other assorted implements of finesse.

We started by jacking up the high side of the bridge to take some of the load off the bolts that were holding the arches together. Having a frozen lake surface to work off of was much easier than wading thru the water.

Bill set up his jack and used an old 4x4 from the Barn to raise the truss. This Rube Goldberg contraption may look hokey (it was), but it did the job and met all the objectives of our safety guidelines (nobody was injured). We even had the first aid kit, Emergency Contacts List, and Go Bucket ready nearby just in case.

Gradually, we slowly removed enough screws and loosened enough bolts that we could separate the arches.

It took a little while but after we removed the first arch we were able to get the other two down without any incident.

The lumber was carefully stockpiled on either side of the trail and will be removed in a future work party. The lumber and hardware will get re-used on future trail projects. It was a shame to have to take the bridge down, because we really appreciate all the hard work the scouts and their dads put into it, but the foundation settled and it was a safety hazard. We had kicked around different ideas to repair the bridge for months, and the consensus was the best course of action was to take it down. An earlier work party in the Fall removed the decking after the bridge was vandalized. Not all trail management is fun or easy, but volunteers do try to keep our trail network safe and enjoyable.

Still, we did make accomplish much more than we thought we would when we started. Here's Bill, Lynn, and Rich at the end with the cleaned up work site. Jim & Terry are out of the picture. The abutments and ramps still need to be cleared, but that's for another day.