Sunday, August 26, 2012

Eagle Scout Project, Day 1

A week-and-a-half prior, assessing one area to be "trail blazed" (8/13/12).
Today was the first of two days that my stepson, Greg, has scheduled this weekend to complete his Boy Scout Eagle Project. As previously posted about, the plan is to clear two walking/riding trails at the Equicenter, in Mendon, New York. The project entails building a trail connecting two parallel walking trails, as well as a second single-lane trail. The purpose of both is to improve access for clients at Equicenter, a local not-for-profit organization offers therapeutic riding sessions and equine facilitated learning (EFL) for mentally, physically and emotionally challenged children and adults.

Water, fruit, shovels, rakes, and other necessities are loaded onto the Gator.
For the first day, Greg had planned on having the crew there from 1-6 in the afternoon. With two trails to clear, it seemed easily like a two day job. Greg was able to enlist the support quite a few willing assistants, including a few who could use very necessary power equipment to assist. The site was about 800 meters into the facility, so we loaded up the Gator to transport most of it. Fortunately for me, I happened to be with Greg during his walk though so (as an adult) was made the "Gator driver;" a job that as the day grew warmer offered a little breezy relief from the heat.

The initial clearing of large debris took longer than anticipated.
While the main project site was an extensive s-shaped path (10' in from trail head, 30' long, 10' out to parallel walkway) joining two parallel walking trails, as work was being done in most of the images here, the same activities were being carried on at a second location about thirty meters away. The second trail was simple a straight connecting path, but the same challenges (thick brush, trees, embedded stones, etc.) were considerations that still needed to be addressed.

The dedicated support of other Boy Scouts was key to making progress.
One of the troop's leaders is a forester could assist with downing trees and brush.
Having a professional volunteer to cut larger brush and trees proved very valuable.
The large embedded stones at the opening of the second trail proved a challenge;
but not one that couldn't be handled by the Scouts!
Greg's stepbrother (my son, Jack) and father, Steve, also came out to aid with the project!
There was no shortage of carrying to be done, at least until the path was
cleared enough to bring the Gator in for loading.
Progress? Yes. Near completion? Uh... not even close!
After about three hours, the paths began to take on a more "trail like" appearance. While one might suppose that the hard part was done, remembering "the devil is in the details" brought the realization that all aspects of the project held it's own challenges. If it was clearing rocks and trees for the "large cut" at the onset, the middle portion included quite a bit of root removal, hanging vine clearing and general maintenance. We had yet to begin the detail work that would likely result in a return the next day.

A teammate of Greg's from the school Crew team also came to offer his expertise.
Removal of root work that could harm the horse's who would be
walking the trails made for some interesting digging.

Big stump!

A third opening is made on the s-shaped trail one.
Given the task of working together the Scouts made huge progress!
What isn't visible in this 2D image is the uneven nature of the trail.
One of MANY dirt drops in our future over two days.
Earlier in the day, one of the employees of the Equicenter, who was also a Boy Scout, assisted us by driving tractor loads of dirt to the site for use in evening the trails out. For the final three hours however, we needed to load the Gator by shovel. The dirt which had been delivered earlier seemed easily obtainable until we realized the "dirt" was actually the side of a large hill that had hardened over the course of years. Excavating the dirt for transport with a tractor was a challenge, and doing so with shovels proved a real pain the butt. Of course, there is more of this to look forward to, tomorrow when we return for day two!

Felled trees are used to border trail one.
To be continued concluded tomorrow...
Though much was accomplished on both trails during the first day, there remains some important detail work to be addressed on day two. Rather than felled trees such as those used border and frame trail one on day one, we will used rocks to border the second trail. There is also some significant leveling to be done, which will require the transport, spreading and leveling of dirt. This can be done only after the removal of exposed roots. The majority of the crew will be returning on Sunday to finish the job. With Greg's leadership, I'm confident we can avoid matching the five hour work day we put in today!

No comments: