Monday, August 15, 2005


This past weekend I and a few friends hooked up with a trail maintenance effort along Bear River, up in the Boise NF. A volunteer effort headed up by SWIMBA and run through the Trail Crew segment of the Forest Service, the goal of the day was to build a bridge across the Bear River about 2 miles in from the trailhead.

The day went well. We headed out about 10am, hiking to the work site with water and lunch on our backs. It soon became apparent that we'd build two bridges, not one, the first being through a runoff and mud pit just shy of the bridge site.

There were 10 of us total, including 3 pros and 7 volunteers. While logs were sawed and stripped, some of us gathered rocks and began work on the secondary bridge. We cut the banks out and lined them with large rocks, then set 3 cut logs across them. We filled the gaps in with small rocks, then decided it'd be brilliant to pack the center with mud and turf. It worked beautifully. It looks like 2 logs with a strip of grassy earth down the middle. If that thing lasts for some years, it'll be an engineering masterpiece. (If not, well...)

The main bridge was a larger task, two very big logs spanning two other fat logs running parallel to the river. These were anchored at both ends after they were dragged into place by resident mules John and Tony. Holes were drilled, bolts pulled through to secure the two logs, and then handrails went on. We cut it low enough to accommodate a handlebar, of course. Again we filled it in with rocks and stuff, closing the gaps between logs, smoothing things out. By the time we were done the thing came together, solid as a rock, sturdier than I could have imagined. A job well done.

Saturday night, John, Tony, Tim and I stayed at the Whispering Pines yurt up there. It was great, except for the fact that we never got inside the yurt. We didn't have the combo to the door lock, due to a misunderstanding on my part, so we spent the night out on the deck. It was gorgeous, a cool night under a starry sky. Next time, though, I'll get the combination for the lock first.

Sunday we did a mountain bike ride, a short trip out Beaver Creek and Crooked River with an extra loop on the Valley Trail thrown in. It was good, if not long enough, as those trails are fun and have great views but are still fairly primitive.

So, a great weekend, and I hope to have photos of the fruits of our backbusting efforts to post soon.

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