Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bridge Back in Place

The early flowers have pretty much reached the end of their blooming season, so it’s about time for me to mow the trails. In preparation for that event, I’ve been putting the bridges back into position. They may look a little bit battered, but they’re still sound.

Presence of the bridge on the bank suppressed the plant growth. Now that the bridge has been removed, the plants will be quick to grow.

Boards provide a smooth surface on which the bridge supports can slide as I pull the bridge back into place. They also act as levers for scooting the bridge into its final position. I loop a rope around the bridge supports and use it as a handle to pull the bridge along. The bridge can be popped back into place in a short amount of time with very few tools.

This gravel bar was created by the same floods that moved the bridges. A temporary blockage just downstream slowed the water at this point and caused the heavy particles to drop out. The loose packed sand and gravel didn’t provide much support. It reminded me a lot of playing at the beach, at least the kind of beach people who live inland are used to. With the blockage removed, normal winter runoff will have all of this gravel moved away by next summer.

A few rains will get the deck cleaned off. We’ve moved into a drier pattern now and the scattered showers have been consistently missing us. It may take a while before cleansing rains show up.

The section of runaway bridge deck has been pulled from the brush pile and is ready to be hauled back upstream. The last bridge won’t be back in place for a while. One of the bridge supports, an eleven inch diameter cedar log, suffered a green stick fracture when it got tangled in other debris and hit a tree. Fortunately, I can use one section of bridge deck as a temporary way to get DR across the creek when I mow.

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