SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.


» Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]

 

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]

reply to topic new topic new poll
Topic: In the Kerf: A summer with an SCA Trail Crew, Adirondack Trail Crew Adventures< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
gregpphoto Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 311
Joined: Apr. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 12:44 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

6:30 am and I'm up with the birds. Breakfast; raisins in my oatmeal! Musn't take too long, those bridges aren't going to build themselves. Lets walk down there and do it. This is hands on, brains on, hearts on work. Hands muddy and blistered; Brains locked and loaded; Hearts on fire and burning bright. This is who we are, and this is what we do.

Beginning on May 27th of this year, I and nineteen others embarked on a journey that would bring us as close as any family, and would leave millions of indelible marks on our minds and our souls. We belonged to the Student Conservation Association's Adirondack Trail Crew based out of Little Tupper Lake. Food and housing provided, health insurance, $2700 education award, beer and gas money ($75 a week) and enough off time to hike the soles off my boots. What more do you need in life?

One of my favorite hitches of the season was a five-day at Stephens Pond in the Blue Ridge Wilderness. The five of us, Jacob, Lizzie, Molly, Heidi and myself, would construct three 12' rustic timber bog bridges from scratch. Whats a rustic timber bog bridge you ask? Why I'd be happy to tell you!

A bog bridge is a simple structure. You've all walked on them. At its most basic, it consists of two sills that run perpendicular to the trail and a single stringer than runs parallel. First, you start by felling a tree. We like to use cedar, but usually its spruce. A 70' high and 17" diameter at breast height spruce provided the timber for the bridge described below. In wilderness areas we use two-man crosscut saws to fell the tree. Next, remove the limbs with an ax, and peel the bark with either the ax (works well in spring and early summer) or a draw knife and bark spud (works better than ax in late summer and fall). You can either buck the log into desired lengths and then top the log to make a flat surface, or vice versa, the order isnt important. Bucking is done with a crosscut, topping with a crosscut to make kerfs every few inches or so perpendicular to the long side of the log, then knocking the blocks out with an ax.

Once the bridge site has been prepared, the logs are carried over with timber carriers, a yoke with two claws, in this case using three timber carriers and six people to move a roughly 600 lb log that would be our stringer. The sills, each 3' long, are buried into the ground atop at least six inches of crushed gravel (made with a sledgehammer). The 12' stringer, which is the log you walk on, has its underside notched so it will fit atop the two sills. Using a brace and bit, we drill a hole on both sides of the stringer and pound a foot long spike in each to join the stringer and sills. Clean up the project site and we're done! Off to the next two bridges..

As you can probably tell, I'm pretty in love with trail work. Building stuff that will last for decades, sometimes longer. Living in the wilderness for days on end with four other incredible people. Hiking on my time off in places that most people work to vacation to, and here I am living amongst it all. Just to toot my horn a bit, I hiked 20 of the 46 high peaks in all sorts of conditions and times of day; sunrise, sunset, clear blue, gray, white, windy, wet, cold, snowy, icy... I slept on top of two small but bare-topped mountains (Jo and Ampersand) and witnessed the milky way and the loons on a nightly basis sometimes. I saw a moose in Wilmington Notch, I kayaked after working to restore a historic boat house at Santanoni, I ate dinner naked once with the rest of my hippy friends. I did it all baby.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Titmouse, SCA 2012

ps heres photos, but none of the naked dinner, sorry http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregpphoto/sets/72157631847526768/
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 2
tarol Search for posts by this member.
Well I never!
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 11217
Joined: Mar. 2003
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 10:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great pics and glad you had a great summer :)

--------------
Got elevation? www.tarol.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 3
GoBlueHiker Search for posts by this member.
Obsessive Island Hopper...
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16531
Joined: Jul. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 10:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sounds like an awesome summer. :)  Life-changing, even.  Everyone needs a year like that.

--------------
Wealth needs more.  Happiness needs less.  Simplify.

www.RainForestTreks.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 4
ol-zeke Search for posts by this member.
Clear Creek
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 13018
Joined: Sep. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 11:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Having worked several times as a volunteer trail builder for the NPS, I can appreciate the hard work and camaraderie you had.  There is a tremendous sense of accomplishment that goes along with such work.  I would like to take this time to thank you and all of your teammates for their time and effort.  Nice job!  

--------------
Everything I know, I learned by doing it wrong at least twice.

"I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth."  Steve McQueen
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 5
gregpphoto Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 311
Joined: Apr. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 11:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Nov. 13 2012, 10:38 am)
QUOTE
Sounds like an awesome summer. :)  Life-changing, even.  Everyone needs a year like that.

Thanks everyone!! It really was life changing, or life affirming I should say, since I knew for a long time that Ive wanted to do things like this.

Hey GoBlue, mind if I use your post as a jump off point for a quick rant? I get that a lot from people when I tell them about my experience, that it was good that I got to do this while I was young, once in a lifetime, etc. But why do so many people think it has to be that way? Im not saying that you do, but the general attitude seems to be "ok you had fun, now back to the real world to get a real job." But what if I like this world? I'll just make this world my real world! I'll make these sorts of jobs my real jobs! After seeing how happy I've become, why would I go back to living a menial existence in a suburb or a city? I cannot and I will not! Its wilderness or bust for me my friends. :)
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 6
tarol Search for posts by this member.
Well I never!
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 11217
Joined: Mar. 2003
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 11:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Plenty of people make jobs like that their real job - I for one am still basically doing the same sort of work I did as an SCA :)

--------------
Got elevation? www.tarol.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 7
ol-zeke Search for posts by this member.
Clear Creek
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 13018
Joined: Sep. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 1:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Finding the career that both makes you happy, and allows you to live the sort of life you want is the quest of many young people.  Few are successful in finding work that allows them to be outside in such an environment.  I wish you all the best in your search.

Of course, the mission becomes easier if you are willing to live a life with little in the way of material goods.  I can see that as something a bit better than chasing the brass ring.  As you age, you may wish for more comforts, so keep you eyes and ears peeled for the sight or sound of opportunity when it comes calling.  In the mean time, enjoy yourself and the freedom it brings you.

Not all of us feel like it is a once in a lifetime thing.  There are several folks here who have made living simply a lifestyle choice.  There are benefits, as you have discovered.  


--------------
Everything I know, I learned by doing it wrong at least twice.

"I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth."  Steve McQueen
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 8
GoBlueHiker Search for posts by this member.
Obsessive Island Hopper...
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16531
Joined: Jul. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 1:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(gregpphoto @ Nov. 13 2012, 9:44 am)
QUOTE

(GoBlueHiker @ Nov. 13 2012, 10:38 am)
QUOTE
Sounds like an awesome summer. :)  Life-changing, even.  Everyone needs a year like that.

Thanks everyone!! It really was life changing, or life affirming I should say, since I knew for a long time that Ive wanted to do things like this.

Hey GoBlue, mind if I use your post as a jump off point for a quick rant? I get that a lot from people when I tell them about my experience, that it was good that I got to do this while I was young, once in a lifetime, etc. But why do so many people think it has to be that way? Im not saying that you do, but the general attitude seems to be "ok you had fun, now back to the real world to get a real job." But what if I like this world? I'll just make this world my real world! I'll make these sorts of jobs my real jobs! After seeing how happy I've become, why would I go back to living a menial existence in a suburb or a city? I cannot and I will not! Its wilderness or bust for me my friends. :)

I don't see that as a rant.  I see it as a voice of clarity in an insane world.

Those who gave up their dreams long ago will always (always!) look down their noses at those who didn't.  People may even call it childish... an idealist 20-something who hasn't grown up yet.  Doesn't mean you have to buy into it.  "Normal" sucks.  The most miserable people I know lead completely "normal" lives.  If they disapprove?  Consider it a reassurance you're doing something right.  Take their words graciously with a smile.  They mean well, but be wary of how much stock you put into that message.  Keep in mind the source.  Such words usually aren't really about you.

Don't get me wrong... your life is bound to change down the line, at some point.  But even then, that doesn't mean you have to wholeheartedly join the great race to the Middle.  The most inspiring folks I've known shed any hopes of normalcy decades ago, and never bought into it.  Jane Goodall used to be some crazy hippie chick no one heard of chasing monkeys in the jungle.

When I said "everyone needs a year like that," I didn't mean to imply it should be limited to a year.  I just think the world would be better if everyone, at some point in their lives, experienced at least one year like that.  Too many don't.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world truly needs is people who have come alive."
-- Harold Thurman

My $.02 anyway.

- Mike


--------------
Wealth needs more.  Happiness needs less.  Simplify.

www.RainForestTreks.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 9
gregpphoto Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 311
Joined: Apr. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 1:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Nov. 13 2012, 1:37 pm)
QUOTE

(gregpphoto @ Nov. 13 2012, 9:44 am)
QUOTE

(GoBlueHiker @ Nov. 13 2012, 10:38 am)
QUOTE
Sounds like an awesome summer. :)  Life-changing, even.  Everyone needs a year like that.

Thanks everyone!! It really was life changing, or life affirming I should say, since I knew for a long time that Ive wanted to do things like this.

Hey GoBlue, mind if I use your post as a jump off point for a quick rant? I get that a lot from people when I tell them about my experience, that it was good that I got to do this while I was young, once in a lifetime, etc. But why do so many people think it has to be that way? Im not saying that you do, but the general attitude seems to be "ok you had fun, now back to the real world to get a real job." But what if I like this world? I'll just make this world my real world! I'll make these sorts of jobs my real jobs! After seeing how happy I've become, why would I go back to living a menial existence in a suburb or a city? I cannot and I will not! Its wilderness or bust for me my friends. :)

I don't see that as a rant.  I see it as a voice of clarity in an insane world.

Those who gave up their dreams long ago will always (always!) look down their noses at those who didn't.  People may even call it childish... an idealist 20-something who hasn't grown up yet.  Doesn't mean you have to buy into it.  "Normal" sucks.  The most miserable people I know lead completely "normal" lives.  If they disapprove?  Consider it a reassurance you're doing something right.  When you hear words of disapproval, keep in mind the source.  Such words usually aren't really about you.

Don't get me wrong... your life is bound to change down the line, at some point.  But even then, that doesn't mean you have to wholeheartedly join the great race to the Middle.  The most inspiring folks I've known shed any hopes of normalcy decades ago, and never bought into it.  Jane Goodall used to be some crazy hippie chick no one heard of chasing monkeys in the jungle.

When I said "everyone needs a year like that," I didn't mean to imply it should be limited to a year.  I just think the world would be better if everyone, at some point in their lives, experienced at least one year like that.  Too many don't.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world truly needs is people who have come alive."
-- Harold Thurman

My $.02 anyway.

- Mike

I couldnt agree more. Im still young, only 26, so yeah, things are sure to change as I grow. I know the wilderness will always play a large part in everything that I do, but who knows, maybe I'll wind up behind a desk fighting the good fight. Not likely though haha.

The Harold Thurman quote hits it right on the head, thanks for sharing that.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 10
GoBlueHiker Search for posts by this member.
Obsessive Island Hopper...
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16531
Joined: Jul. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 1:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(gregpphoto @ Nov. 13 2012, 11:46 am)
QUOTE
I couldnt agree more. Im still young, only 26, so yeah, things are sure to change as I grow. I know the wilderness will always play a large part in everything that I do, but who knows, maybe I'll wind up behind a desk fighting the good fight. Not likely though haha.

The Harold Thurman quote hits it right on the head, thanks for sharing that.

Whatever dude.  Three years from now you'll be a full time assistant-CPA paying down a McMansion mortgage, pining over a luxury car and working every weekend to enhance your 401k portfolio.  We'll grow-you-up yet.  You just wait. :D

(I kid, I kid.)


--------------
Wealth needs more.  Happiness needs less.  Simplify.

www.RainForestTreks.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 11
QCHIKER Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 2379
Joined: Oct. 2009
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 2:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for sharing your pics and story with us. I too have done trail work and know the commraderie and teamwork it builds. Not to mention the muscles and appetite. Thanks for all of your hard work at building the trails and structures. Hopefully you can make it back to those areas again someday in the future and see if all of you hard work is still there and how it is standing up to Mother Nature.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 12
WalksWithBlackflies Search for posts by this member.
Resident Eco-Freak Bootlicker
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 10240
Joined: Jun. 2004
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 2:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As a NYS taxpayer, I don't pay you to have dinner with nekkid hippie chix. GET BACK TO WORK!!!

Seriously... thanks for keeping our trail system great!


--------------
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. - Lao Tzu
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 13
gregpphoto Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 311
Joined: Apr. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 5:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Nov. 13 2012, 2:01 pm)
QUOTE
As a NYS taxpayer, I don't pay you to have dinner with nekkid hippie chix. GET BACK TO WORK!!!

Seriously... thanks for keeping our trail system great!

As a NYS taxpayer you dont pay me to do nuttin, we're SCA! You pay the DEC, which, sadly, sometimes does even less than eat naked.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 14
gregpphoto Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 311
Joined: Apr. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 5:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Nov. 13 2012, 1:59 pm)
QUOTE

(gregpphoto @ Nov. 13 2012, 11:46 am)
QUOTE
I couldnt agree more. Im still young, only 26, so yeah, things are sure to change as I grow. I know the wilderness will always play a large part in everything that I do, but who knows, maybe I'll wind up behind a desk fighting the good fight. Not likely though haha.

The Harold Thurman quote hits it right on the head, thanks for sharing that.

Whatever dude.  Three years from now you'll be a full time assistant-CPA paying down a McMansion mortgage, pining over a luxury car and working every weekend to enhance your 401k portfolio.  We'll grow-you-up yet.  You just wait. :D

(I kid, I kid.)

No, no, don't do it!!!! Noooo...
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 15
jmitch Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 1610
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 5:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great work.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 16
reubenstump Search for posts by this member.
Lago Grey
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 2246
Joined: Sep. 2011
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 6:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Too bad you didn't have any fun.   :D
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 17
nogods Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 6377
Joined: Sep. 2007
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 7:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My son spent 12 weeks this summer on an SCA crew with the BLM out of Reno.  Sounds like you and he had similar experiences despite being 3000 miles apart.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 18
Adirondackiteer Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 689
Joined: Jun. 2010
PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 14 2012, 7:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Outstanding. Wish I could have done something like that. But I was too set on college and career. Think I would have been better off doing that anyhow! lol But I didn't even know about programs like that before. And for the record I thought SCA was those folks who dress up in medival stuff.

You got some great photos there too, a little bit of it all. That must really be something to spend that much time out there. You had the great opportunity to experience so much, multiple seasons, bright clear days, gloomy days, snow, the perfect sunsets...

If you can't tell from my handle, thats one of my favorite places.  :)

And thanks for the work too! There is no end in sight for trail maintenance up there! And plenty of mud bogs that need bridges!


--------------
???   Shoes optional   :cool:
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
17 replies since Nov. 13 2012, 12:44 am < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]


 
reply to topic new topic new poll

» Quick Reply In the Kerf: A summer with an SCA Trail Crew
iB Code Buttons
You are posting as:

Do you wish to enable your signature for this post?
Do you wish to enable emoticons for this post?
Track this topic
View All Emoticons
View iB Code



Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions