Sleepers and stringers

Sounds like something from a spy movie…

Bridge of Spies? Nothing as dramatic as that – good movie if you haven’t seen it, set in less complicated times(!) – but we’ve been building bridges.

Our trail work is going along nicely, and with chainsaw skills acquired, we’ve been able to tackle some bigger items, like staircases and bridges. Trees that have been felled for safety have a new lease of life, stripped of bark to make sleepers and stringers for new sections of boardwalk bridge.

This lot needs replacing!

The youth and young adults were shown once, then after that they got into building their own wooden bridges. Working as a group of two to four, they’ve been able to prepare the site and construct a bridge in less than a morning.

Part of the new section – no bridge needed here

It’s corny, but the bridge building has closed the gap between elders and youth, the trail to the community, and outside partners to the nation. The young folks will step across their bridges and on towards a future full of multiple possibilities due to the skills they’re learning. I’ve got something in my eye, sniff…

“Is he crying again?” “Yup!”

I can’t believe how quickly the summer is passing, and we’ve so much more to build! We had to down tools yesterday, and probably today, due to some very heavy rain and potentially strong wind gusts – the advice is forest-based work is high risk in these conditions. Still, when we head out there next week, we’ll be confident the raised sections are high and dry, in a good way, and we will see where drainage channels are needed.

“When can I come and see the bridges? They’re wooden? Can I chew them?”

Next week, I’ll include a photograph of a series of bridges built close together. I took a rushed photo in the rain earlier, but it’s mostly of my thumb. Next time…

Under construction – sleepers and stringers going in

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

11 thoughts on “Sleepers and stringers”

  1. Does Scout go with you to work? I see the other dog there, I am sure they could have fun-or get into mischief. That is hard work and I admire all of you clearing and fixing trails. I am curious why they are axing the stump. You know from my blog that I like tree stumps as a subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jane! Yes, there was some unnecessary enthusiasm when testing the Pulaski there – don’t worry, the stump is fine, if a bit more scarred than it should be. It’s a nursery stump, and will be something to see on the trail.
      Scout doesn’t come to work with me, not on trail days, too much of a distraction and potential trouble, haha!
      I hope you’re well, and it isn’t too hot where you are.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am smiling broadly, pc, at this magnificent project. What a great way to teach your youth valuable skills not only on trails, but in using tools, working together with people of all ages, and enduring uncomfortable conditions. Trail work is not easy, and we hikers appreciate a great trail; how wonderful that your group is providing this for hikers. I think I have something in my eye, too. I’m sure it is not easy to be responsible for and guiding this group, but I applaud you for your patience and perseverance. It’s easy to see the mental rewards are full, and I’m really happy for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Jet! For all sorts of reasons, this summer has been a challenge, and that’s true for many and most of us. I will look back at this project and remember it for the absolute highlight it is, as an educator, but also as a participant in creating something special.
      I hope you’re keeping safe down there!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It is enough to bring tears to your eyes reading about the wonderful things your community is accomplishing together building bridges and relationships. Team work is definitely on display with the small groups able to prepare and build the bridges in a morning. Love the shot of Scout and the other gorgeous dog supervising the construction and thanks for sharing the uplifting beauty and meaningful lessons being shared along these trails. Enjoy the week and I think Scout looks ready for an apprenticeship position on the trail!


    1. Thank you! I’m told that dog is part wolf – it’s not quite a year old and absolutely huge! It’s a good natured trail building companion, but I do get quite a start when it bursts out of the undergrowth and bounds up the trail. I’m always relieved to spot the harness!
      Yup, this has been a great project, particularly given how restricted many folks have been, so we count ourselves very fortunate to have done as much as we have, with another couple of weeks still to come, virus permitting…
      Scout would agree with you about becoming a trail apprentice, but I’ve got enough plates spinning without her “help”!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. No tears in my eye, Adam, just sweat– from merely thinking of how challenging trail work is. More than just romantic fluff concerning everyone’s future, inspirational though it is, and very practical, too. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Walt! This really has been fun, and we know we’ve been lucky to have done as much as we have. A couple more weeks and then it’s back to school for half the crew. I’m hoping at least two of the young adults can be kept on into the fall – the trail requires maintenance and extension, as well as user friendly additions like rustic resting benches for elders in strategic places. Aiming to rustle up some extra training opportunities for carving and sign creation. It’ll never be “finished” and that’s a good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

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