[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
>I stayed at a rather rustic campground called American Canoe Adventures.
>The campsite I had was very isolated and the price was right, $5.00 (no
>hookups, chemical outhouse). The FT crosses the campground property and
>there is a creek with a breathtaking bridge. Could this be Swift Creek?
that was wendell at ACA....FTA member and very accommodating to trail folk.
wendell will let you park at his place to hike...trail access is limited in
that area. ed wolcott, section leader for 18 engineered the breathtaking
bridge last spring. here is the story i wrote for the newsletter.....enjoy:
Some miles west of White Springs the Florida Trail crosses
Swift Creek at its confluence with the Suwannee River. Swift
is a clear, twisty, rocky creek with beautiful steep limestone
banks. The banks are forty feet apart and about fifteen feet
high at the trail crossing where THE BRIDGE WAS MISSING!
Work was cut out for our Section Leader, Ed Wolcott.
It is hard to believe that in last year's El Niņo flood the water
rose so high that it tore loose the old forty-foot long solid
wood plank bridge and simply floated it away. But it did,
and left it high and dry in the woods nearby. It no longer
had bridge duty. It was merely the log that it had always
intended to be..............potential driftwood.
Ed had a new project. That was a year ago. During that
year, he measured and calculated and planned. He ordered
and picked up and transported parts. THEN he built and
painted a whole new bridge! A Megabridge. He built it
from two forty-foot steel beams with steel pipe spacers
and painted it gray. Then he put a short two-wheeled trailer
underneath it in EXACTLY the right spot, hitched it to his
Yukon and towed all 800+ pounds of it right up I-75 to the creek.
Of course on "Let's Make A Bridge Day" he had a good
turnout of FTA helpers, twelve in all, and we needed
everybody. But Ed was the man with the plan. The back
of the Yukon was loaded with winches and cables and
pulleys and come-alongs......big old SERIOUS tools and
hardware. (And of course, gloves for the helpers.) Still......
I was thinking..."Ok. So. Here's the bridge. The creek's
way down there. The other bank's waaay over there.....
Well, Ed had already been there. He'd stretched two strongly
secured cables at hand rail height across the creek. Now he maneuvered the
bridge around and backed it into place
between the handrails. A pulley was put onto each of
the hand rail cables and tied to the outer ends of the bridge.
Ed crossed the creek with his "come-along" which was secured
to the front center of the new bridge. This come-along uses
trees and cables and a winch to move incredibly heavy things.
I'd seen him use it before.
To make a very long and interesting story newsletter length,
he began to crank the bridge slowly across the wide open
space, suspended from the handrail cables by the pulleys.
As the bridge crept out to meet its maker, we fed it six-foot
sections of wooden decking that were to be secured on site.
Before lunch that day we had a new bridge. We were a proud
bunch of hikers. And, certainly not for the first time, proud
to have Ed Wolcott, Section Leader and Bridgemaster, on
* From the Florida Trail Mailing List | http://www.backcountry.net *