Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bridge To Bubbled Waters

 The original walkways across the small creek at T'sek hot spring, in my memory anyways, from what I understand were put in by the Army Engineers from Camp Chilliwack. They were constructed of poles  which someone later covered with asphalt shingles.
 By 1996 it was time to replace them. In September, according to my journal, I prefabbed the first of the replacements at home a week before, staining it then taking it down and pulling out the old one, then assembling the replacement in one long day.
These two before and after pictures were taken the same day.

It served for two years before being nearly destroyed by a falling tree in June 1998.
The story of this event that was nearly the end of me was the subject of one of my first blog/stories published here in Nov. 2011, Trees Behaving Badly.

I pulled the broken deck, squared and leveled the base once more, and saw milled new decking all over and rebuilt it to its former glory.

After 14 hard years of near daily use,  coast mountain weather, and about 80 thousand pairs of running shoes, sandals, flip flops, gumboots and snow boots, and numerous people on their hands and knees I'm sure, it was time for a refit.
   To the surprise of many, I actually do work on occasion. But only when I have to, and I like to keep the duration short. Well, first thing....I need to take my nice clean little saw mill out from its warm dry storage area, after I move all the junk I've got stored on top of it out there. Then I'll have to go out and level it up some place and drag a heavy log over and with no little amount of effort roll and heave said log up on mill, accompanied by a lot of loud words no doubt, a job that would made be easier if my tractor were not of the incapacitated variety. I'll have to repeat the process several times, after which I get to clean up the big sawdust pile and heap of bark slab mess, take the mill apart, clean it and put it away, then re-pile everything back on top of it.
It is that point, I'm ready to start my intended afternoon project.
To hell with that. There was a time when it was important to mill my own wood, but I've got over it. These days I prefer to shop locally and support the local economy, and save a whole lot of wear and tear on myself. I'll just take a run downtown and pick up my order like people do out there in the city.
My friend Cedric down valley at the tiny community of Skatin has himself set up with a little mill and a machine for moving the wood, so I conveniently headed downtown with my little trailer rattling along behind.
I took the Skatin off ramp, being Sunday there wasn't much traffic.

In fact I didn't see anyone, even Cedric. I found my order and hand piled it on my poor old converted motorcycle trailer, half flattening the tires. These where the longest cuts, he would have the decking ready for me a week later.

Next time I smartly waited until I knew he was home for sure and we had some fun with his little machine.
I talked him out of all the long bark slabs from the job and he piled that on top of the load of heavy decking, I'll buck that up and sell it to the campers later in the year when it dries.

I off loaded the works back at home. Then re-loaded one almost complete bridge. I picked a week day when I knew there wasn't going to anyone around, backing it skillfully beyond the barriers and down close.
The old 22 foot walkway has served us well all these years.
I had hearing protection on and I fired up my chainsaw, letting it idle while it warmed up. I figured what the hell, I had to take one last picture. I put the Husky down and took the camera from my belt.
And there it is, for everyone whom has had a T'sek experience in the last 15 years. They have all left across that walkway, wearing the cedar decking thin, and have all carried their particular memory of the hot spring with them via this route. I have probably been over it 5000 times myself.
I walked out one last time and looked around, then pushed hard on the hand rail with my boot until it broke loose from the rotten log, then made a pass with the chainsaw the length in both directions and it fell into itself. I brought the winch line from the quad down, then dragged the better part of it out to the day use area in two trips. I went back and fired all the loose broken up old boards out of the way and got to work.
   I certainly know when to pick my days to work down there. It was more of a job than I expected of course to join all the beams together to equal the span across the hot spring outflow creek. I only saw a handful of people the whole time, and poor Andrew showed up just when the heavy lifting came up.
I nailed down the rough cut decking with galvanized nails and cleaned up the area and raked out any evidence of my being there then hurried home to salvage what was left of my nap time.
The far little 22 foot bridge, the bouncy one, is going to be replaced, and be recycled into something else.
I will sure miss bouncing on it every time I cross.
I'll get to it at a later date, or not. I'll have to check my schedule.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats! We spent a night at the springs a couple of days before the new bridge. I guess it is a totally new comfort :-)

    In any case: Great Place and atmosphere. Thank you for making this possible.

    All the best for the summer!