Time for some love. Broken and rotted rungs stop the flow of a trail.
We spent this June NSMBA Trail Day to fix one of many damaged structures
Anyone who regularly rides on the North Shore trails will agree that ladder bridges are an integral part of our trail network. We use them to connect sections of unridable trail, to ride over mud bogs, streams, fallen trees, and across ravines, not to mention to reduce erosion in sensitive environments. In the case of Boogieman there are numerous sections that require a bridge to complete parts of the trail. We selected one bridge in particular that was becoming unsafe due to rot and did not have a ride around as an option. Our focus: to re-build a new bridge that was safe, would sustain at least a decades worth of mountain bike traffic, and use all lumber from the surrounding forest that was dead fall.
Clearly this ladder bridge was in need of replacement. Not only missing rungs, the stringers were rotted through and the supports were not secured to anything structural
This before shot shows how the roll out ramp had an interesting twist from rotting logs,
destined to take out a rider upon exit at some point.
Then we pile up the debris of the old dead structure to a final resting place, out of eyesight of the trail
to hold the stringers in place for the top ladder as well as the descending ramp.
Another example of how handy a chainsaw comes in on trial day.
The upper part of the structure was itact and in good condition but we had to reinforce the ground around it and install a more solid cedar log. Andrew and Jake build up the sides of the log with rocks and dirt to stabilize as Sean was preparing a skilled cut with the chainy.
It was an interesting artistic maneuver Sean had to do to cut the notches for the stringers with the chainsaw.
These cedar posts are not only rot resistant but they are beefy and are well supported at both ends. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of how we supported the bottom of the ramp with rocks beneath a cedar log. We filled the landing area with a thick layer of packed in golden dirt with a rock layer beneath for erosion resistance.
Sean empties his Dakine nail pouches, bursting with 5"-10" galvanized nails, to fasten the rungs to the ladder.
Andrew pins the bridge together with the long spiral galvanized spikes, using the weighty sledge
Man! These nails make a lot of resistance going into the cedar logs! They are seriously securing the position of the structure!
art of doing trail work and rebuilding is the clean up of the area and stacking unused wood for future use. Here Sean stacks up the extra cedar ladder bridge rungs created by Dave and Andrew. We will make some use of those on our next trail day on other structures further down the trail.
Before the tear down and rebuild :: Ultra rickety ladder bridge structure needing some love.
After :: The new structure with a nice pile of golden dirt in the landing zone ready to be ridden for years to come!
Note: After the trail day, I was exhausted… and I mean speechlessly exhausted. I have run marathons, and have done a whole lot of bike races, but nothing compares to the last couple of trail days on Boogieman. The work we have done is not even a sliver of what some trail builders have spent years and years doing. This stands as a reminder for every time I enter a trail that has been built and regularly maintained and a reminder of how much painstaking work went into the trail. Hats off to the trail builders and trail maintainers of the shore! You guys are my heros! Without you we wouldn't have these experiences! Thank you, thank you, thank you!