Work Day: July 24 — Gravity is our friend!

Improved tread way with hardpack over peastone

One of Norwich’s most popular trails ascends Gile Mountain.

A combination of the elements and the passage of many feet eroded the tread way in an area on the trail below the power line crossing, exposing tree roots and creating a tripping hazard, a rough ride for mountain bikers, and a risk to the health of the trees, themselves.

To address this, Norwich Trails volunteers assembled as a crew of nine, equipped with pickaxe, shovels, rakes, buckets, and five wheel barrows to build up the tread way with peastone and hardpack, drawing on a supply that had been established for earlier projects in the center of the power line crossing. Work began at 7:30 am on Sunday, July 24th before the forecast heat of the day.

While gravity favored the loading of stone and delivering it down slope in a wheelbarrow, loading the material into buckets and portering it with a makeshift yoke proved to be very productive, as well. In Asia, entire dams have been built, transporting materials in this manner!

The wheelbarrow traffic kept those shoveling at the stone pile busy and occasionally caused a backup, while waiting for those with rakes to finish their work.

After the tread way was defined with the peastone to guide hikers over and past the protruding tree roots, a layer of hardpack was placed on the tread way to make the walking surface cohesive.

Soon the Gile Mountain Trail improvements were ready for the first customers!

Treading the new tread way

After three hours of work, the volunteers collected their tools, assembled for a group photo and packed everything back to the parking lot, having avoided temperatures that would later reach 90°F!

The crew (see if you can figure out why the same shovel is visible twice in the image)

Our thanks go to the volunteers, whose numbers and stamina made the work go so quickly:

  • Kristin and Jay Fauci
  • Jim Faughnan (work co-leader)
  • Bob Fisken (with dog, Bela)
  • Stephen Flanders
  • Peter Griggs
  • Nick Krembs (work co-leader)
  • John McCormick
  • Cody Williams

Story and photos by Stephen Flanders

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