SCA Cleveland Metroparks Trail Corps

Boardwalk Production Continues

Welcome to our trail crew - SCA Trail Corps Gabrielle, Miranda, Chad, Ryan, and Alexis. Follow our summer journey as we build mountain bike trails with the Cleveland Metroparks! If you want to get to know us a little better take a look back at our first Welcome Blog and you will find bios about each one of us as well as a little more history on the Cleveland Metroparks! You can continue to follow our crew and our adventures through August 15th 2014. 

The morning sun pokes through leaves overhead, stars happily bouncing atop grass and well-worn boots alike. It is mornings like these that keep our crew excited to wake up before the rising sun. It is hard to complain when your days are spent constructing awesome wooden pathways in the middle of the woods.

On Monday, we saw lying before us a haphazard pile of lumber and long metal posts that tamped the grass into soft matting beneath.  We spent hours pounding the posts into the ground by hand, carefully positioning each. The posts, now only a portion of their lengths visible above the ground, were measured and ready to be cut by this nifty little pipe cutting tool. It’s a fairly simple task, you crank the tool back and forth with a partner, going around the pipe until it finally breaks free. Seems easy enough…until you break your tool. After a few pipes, the pipe cutter was toast, but, one closed door always leads to an open one, right? The replacement pipe cutter, tore through metal in seconds, creating bright sparks of red and gold. Very exciting.

By now the pile of material had lost its former luster as only the lumber remained. After setting the base posts for our boardwalks, we had a bunch of seemingly random metal circles about the ground. We measured and cut a number of stringers and joyces to connect the dots, if you will. These created the framework for our boardwalk, over which I would trip and run into to no end. This boardwalk was coming together!

The rain tried to stop us. The muck tried to stop us. Angry bees and misplaced trees tried to stop us, but how were we to know that our most formidable foe would be the boardwalk itself? After putting together a couple hundred feet of boardwalk stringers and joyces, we thought we’d gotten the hang of it. Someone would hold the board in place. One person measures as another checks the angles. Switch the board around. Do it again on the other side. Cut it with the circular saw. All was going just fine and dandy until our boards started coming out 2 inches short. Exactly. Every time. We flipped it, we angled, we measured, and we marked, but the boards kept coming up short. So, we cut long to correct for it. Until they came out a couple inches too long. Again this happened over and over again, up until the point when we couldn’t even make a single mark on the board without going into hysterics. It was ridiculous. Everything was perfect, but this boardwalk decided right then and there that it didn’t want to be built. Well, fine, boardwalk, we’ll play your little game. We’ll try another area farther up. Of course the same problem was happening over there too.

As it turns out, certain joyces were able to tilt in multiple directions no matter what precautions we took. With ceaseless determination and fits of rage-laughter, we built the boardwalk’s frame. What a relief it was to see our progress finally pay off with clean, perfectly angled lines for four hundred feet.

Boardwalk week was a wonderful week.  I can’t wait to finish these structures in the upcoming weeks! Plus we discovered Blueberry Season was upon us and what a patch we found!