Sopchoppy Bridge and Drexel

March 25 - March 29, 2012

Drexel University drove 17 hours through the night to come to Crawfordville for their Alternative Spring Break — and somehow were completely awake and functional when they arrived on Sunday. We began the break by introducing ourselves and letting the students settle in and have some lunch. Then we took them to Wakulla Springs — our favorite place to bring spring breakers, apparently. We relaxed, saw adorable puppies, did some hiking, and most importantly, jack-knifed off the high dive.

We met up with our regular agency contacts and volunteers the next day: Ian, Eric, Liz, Sean and Spider over at the Sopchoppy Trailhead. Some weeks before, a bridge engineer had condemned a town-favorite bridge — so in turn, Ian went to town with a chainsaw and cut it down, leaving us with a big job to do — taking out the bridge. There were also old bridges randomly scattered throughout the area that needed to be taken out. Lastly, the trail was rerouted so nobody fell into the Sopchoppy River, so we had to fix up that trail.

We split up into two groups — one group went over to take out the old bridges and rehab the trail, while another group helped set up a rigging system to take out the ridiculously heavy bridge parts. The coolest part was setting up a sky line so we could send things from one side of the river to the other, without having to wade through water. We tried building a set of wings so we could fly things over the river, but the pressure-treated wood didn’t work very well. Too many nails sticking out of it.

So everyday we would arrive at the work site, stretch and talk about our stretch topics (Marchetti got really into monster trucks this hitch, we started to get worried), work on the bridges, make lunch for everyone (when we told Sean “Enough Goldfish!” he would cry, and then we would have to console him everyday. It was annoying), work some more, and then come back to the house and make dinner for everyone. One time we even went climbing in Tallahassee with some of the students — and they were naturals!

At the end of the week we completed our work, we headed back early to gear up for the Annual trail Conference on Jupiter (just kidding, it was IN Jupiter, FL). So while we did that, the spring breakers went kayaking and canoeing (only one boat capsized!) — and somehow they were still awake when we woke up the next morning (Ohhh college kids, they’re like little energizer bunnies). It was a fantastic spring break crew!

- Emily