A crew of six volunteers assembled in the Gile Mountain parking lot at 7:30 am to carry tools and materials uphill to where the few remaining wooden steps on the trail had rotted. The goal was to replace rotten hemlock risers on five steps and to improve the drainage around this set of steps.
Step one was to dislodge the rotten risers, which were secured with 12-inch spikes into the existing structure. In some cases, a wrecking bar sufficed; in others, a portable, battery-driven, reciprocating saw was needed, both with its hacksaw blade for cutting through spikes and its rip-saw blade for cutting through wood.
The work relied on some pre-staged materials near the power-line right of way, below the trail: 6 x 6 hemlock ties, crushed rock, and hard-pack, all of which had to be carried uphill by volunteers, who (it is rumored) are in their seventies!
Five new hemlock risers were emplaced and secured with 12-inch spikes, pounded home through pre-drilled holes into the existing wood. Absent a wood substrate, rebars were pounded into the soil to retain the riser.
After about two and a half hours of work, the crew took a well-deserved break for coffee and donuts, supplied by Nick Krembs. The crew finished its work on the trail and de-mobilized the tools and materials to the parking lot by 11:30, where some crew members continued work by clearing out the drainage ditch, which keeps it free of runoff.
The volunteer trail crew comprised:
- Bob Fisken (with Bela)
- Jim Faughnan (crew co-leader)
- Stephen Flanders
- Nick Krembs (crew leader)
- Cathie Redpath
- Gerry Plummer
Story and photos by Stephen Flanders