For the second day of the trip, we planned to split up into two groups. One would work their way up the trail and do general maintenance, as there were plenty of places on the trail that could use it. The other group would go back to the stream crossing and fix up the existing single log bridge into an official multi-log bridge. I was very clear from the start that I wanted to be in the bridge group. I wanted to see how such a bridge was built, what made it work best and how we would direct the trail to the new route. It sounded more exciting to me, so I volunteered to be the group photographer for that group.

Plus, I wanted to get pictures of the beaver eaten trees on the other side of the stream crossing.

We set off at a brisk pace. I probably would have walked a bit slower, but the endurance runner was in the lead and setting the pace. She and her boyfriend had done the Queens River Loop in less than a day, running, and I knew just how much work that would have had to have been.

We weren’t going so fast that I missed this benchmark (which I had missed the day before).

It’s not like it was easy to miss!

I made sure to get some before pictures of the existing bridge so we’d have proof of what we’d accomplished by the end of the work day (which would be about noon so we’d all have time to get home).

Sure, it’s crossable, but it’s dicey.

Gnaw marks!

They almost chewed through this one.

They got these ones pretty good.

This is the old bridge, from the other side (it isn’t visible from the approaching side).
The first step in our rebuild was to align the existing log so that it went directly across instead of at a slant. That involved clearing out brush and mud to make seats for either end of it. And there was one bush that was particularly pernicious. It had a very thick root dug into the bank, and I whacked away at it with a Pulaski. Another girl gave a few whacks, but then moved on to something else. Swinging a Pulaski is hard work. 
When I got through the initial root, I saw there was more root going in a perpendicular direction. I was more determined than ever to get it out, so I kept on swinging, thinking that this is why I do CrossFit – so I have the strength and stamina to do other random stuff like chop a bush out of a bank. The other women asked if I needed a break, but I told them this bush was my white whale and I wanted to see it out. 
Of course, when I finished, I had to get someone to take a photo of me holding my trophy.

The corpse of my “white whale.” Picture by Carrie Holmes. 

There wasn’t as much crosscutting to do on this day as the day before, but I persuaded someone to take my camera and get some pictures of me actually sawing.

That’s me on the right, using a real crosscut saw. 

We sawed it good.

Once the new piece for the bridge had been cut, all of us picked it up and carried it over to the stream crossing to place it next to its buddy. The log was heavy, but together we were able to get it in place.

Two log bridge – but not done yet.
That’s the ticket – the branches have been stropped off and the trail has been redirected. 

After we finished with the bridge, we worked on making sure that the trail from the bridge joined up sensibly with the trail that came from the old bridge. This involved chopping up grass and laying out some branches and logs. We could have spent another hour there getting it just right, but we were running out of time, so we left it with just enough markings to show the way.

On the way back, we came across the maintenance crew and learned the term, “bump on by.” It’s used to alert someone that you are coming by on the trail so that neither your tools nor their tools injure anyone. Back at the trail head, it remained only to take down tents and head out.

Luxury sleeping conditions.

I chose to join a caravan on the way out since the forest service woman had said that the road was shorter going out that way, if one were headed for Idaho City. I figured staying in a group on an unknown road would be safer with my sedan. We all made it to Idaho City safely, and then, well, I’ve already written about the adventure that happened next.

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