Saturday, March 23, 2019

Boehm Pond Bridge Relocation

During one of the storms this winter Mother Nature decided our footbridge on Boehm Pond Brook was too low and decided to move it downstream about 100 feet.  It came to rest under a tree at the top of a scenic cascade.  The Boehm Pond Bridge was built 2 Years ago, had weathered a number of storms successfully and was pinned int the bank, but this time the stream was really whippin' and the pins didn't hold.

This was where the bridge used to be.  We thought it would be a pretty simple matter to have 2 guys pick it up and walk it back into place.  So on a bright and blustery Saturday morning Bill and Jim went to get it and lo and behold it was heavier than expected.

Here's Jim, Bill & Bob rummaging in the brush trying to get the bridge out of the stream by themselves.  That wasn't happening so we went to Plan B:  get more volunteers and a rope.  Where were all the high school students today? 

With the aid of more volunteer horsepower they were able to slide the bridge across a log, carry it back upstream, then down a slope and back across the brook where another team had raised the stone foundations higher so the bridge wouldn't get washed out quite so readily in the future.

The relocated bridge back in place on the new footings.

We took a some time to level up the bridge, add more rocks to the foundation, and improve the access approaches.  Jim brought some steel cable out and he and Mike attached one end of the bridge to a nearby tree so if the bridge got adventurous again it wouldn't wander too far downstream.  (We didn't ask Jim why he happened to be driving around with some extra steel cable in his car).

Then the crews split up and cleared brush and blowdowns along the White and Yellow trails.  Some went over to Boehm Pond and looked at the old bridge on the North end of the pond.  Jim was the bravest and ventured across and back successfully.  He thinks we can just replace some of the old deck timbers.  This would re-open fishing access around the far side of the pond, which is part of the public open space.

Other people went out and cleared some larger blowdowns on the trail extension out to Boehm Circle.  There's a pedestrian easement that leads back out to Farmill Street there.  Several trees were down blocking the way though.

Mark cut up one large ash jumble that was blocking the path.

You can see the "Blonding" for the woodpeckers looking for the Emerald Ash Borers that all killing off the ash trees.  What a shame losing all these nice trees due to an invasive insect and what countless hours are required statewide to clean up this mess.

We also cleared out some multiple birch blowdowns that were blocking a re-route across the Brook.  There's more brush to cut, but at least it's smaller stuff now.  This was a busy morning and we got a lot accomplished; a bridge restoration, cleared multiple blowdowns, and general trail clean-up.  Thanks to Val, Mike W., Bill, Bob, Mark, Jim, Mike F., and Terry.  Now people can go watch the NCAAs.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Tree Chopping

If anyone was out walking the trails this Saint Patrick's Day weekend they may have noticed one or two tree branches blown down from the winds Friday & Saturday.  Some are small and some are larger.

This large-ish red oak branch was across the White access trail to the Paugussett Trail at Indian Well State Park; just above the staircase.

After a little gentle chainsaw work this branch was turned into fire wood and the trail is clear.  Some other branches and trees were also removed from the trail.

The weather is supposed to be good this week and people will be out enjoying the Spring sun along the trails.  Please feel free to pick up and toss any branches or sticks well away from the trails wherever you may encounter them, every bit helps.  And if you're out with kids make a game of it and see who can get rid of the most sticks.

Thanks to everyone cutting trees, branches or moving sticks from the trail this Spring.  It's appreciated.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The 2019 Marshmallow March is in the Bag

The 2019 Marshmallow March was a success.  We had over 42 hikers + doggies, the weather cooperated, and the hot cocoa was hot.

The weather had been iffy, but a couple of inches of happy snow and sunny 40 degree weather made it feel like an early spring.  We'd like to thank the Shelton Land Conservation Trust for allowing us to run the event at their Nicholdale Farm parcel on Rt. 110 again.  

Bo was ready to go.  Nothing like a cute happy dog to attract a crowd of younger hikers.  Joe Welsh, President of the Shelton Land Trust gave a brief talk about the Nicholdale parcel and

The snow was deep enough to be picture perfect along Nicholdale Brook, but not to deep to walk in.  It was slippery and the trails were soggy in places.

Sheep were once very common in Connecticut
Some excess toy animals were set out along the trail to give the kids something to look for.  We're competing with the Internet these days, after all. Tip: If you're taking the kids out for a hike, tell them it's just like a computer game, but in three dimensions.
We wound our way along the Blue trail thru the woods and reached the scout camp where our intrepid fire starters Mark and Bob had a good fire going.

Everyone had collected sticks along the way and were toasting marshmallows and enjoying hot cocoa.  We think the dogs were also satisfied with the pickings around the campfire and under the picnic tables.

And after putting the fire (they did put the fire out, right?) Our hardy crew of trail volunteers (Mike, Mark & Bob) dragging all the gear and paraphernalia back to the cars in the parking lot.  Thanks to everybody who helped out or came to The March.  Thanks again to the Shelton Land Trust for letting us use their property for this hike.  And thanks to Ed McCreery for plowing out the parking lots; hope your cold got better.