More Bog Walk Creation and Great Gott Island Beach Clean-Up
Sep 20, 2011
|September 19 – More Bog Walk Creation and Great Gott Island Beach Clean-Up
We have experienced some great fall days and some damp ones – the latter while making more bog walk cribs along the Giant Slide trail in the Acadia National Park.
Kathleen took one day off from crib making and I had the fun time working with Doug Heden. Our trail boss, Anna Adams, asked that Doug and I finish a half-made crib and then attempt to make a 5-tier crib in a washout. Fortunately, the ground in the washout was dark loam with only a few rocks so we finished the masterpiece in record time and then moved on up the line to make three more in record time. : )
We use levels to ensure that the crib assemblies are level in two directions and we do not finish the crib until the level bubble is within the black lines, more or less. : ) We also are required to position the top surface of the upper crib board to within + or – 1/8 inch of the guide notch on the marker stake.
On a previous day, we were without levels and our crib creation speed was 4-times faster. : ) But the next work day, we did have levels and had to shim and adjust all of our previous day’s creations.
The next bog walk day, Kathleen and I created the last and the most unaesthetic crib of our tenure. The three-board crib was over two permanent rocks on one side and abutted against another on the other side. It is not pretty but stable after we used Kathleen’s idea of filling the inner void with rocks and using a ‘tweener’ between the two cross members. You will have to view the crib photo to appreciate its uniqueness. : )
On Saturday, we joined 5 others and were ferried by Captain Terry to the beaches of Great Gott Island, about 3-miles south of our departure dock in Tremont, where we were to pick up trash that had washed up from the Atlantic. The event was full of learning experiences mostly due to the low tide and the lack of a functioning outboard engine on the skiff that our captain was obliged to use to get us on shore with low tide.
Not wanting to scuff the bottom of the boat on unexposed rocks at low tide, our captain had in-tow an inflatable skiff that could haul 2 volunteers at a time to the rock strewn beaches. His first beach of choice was on the eastern side of the island where residents of the island had already started to purge the beach of all things unnatural.
I had a feeling that the longer that Kathleen stayed on our captain’s firmly anchored but rolling boat, the more she would be ‘concerned’ so I volunteered to have her be one of the first two, ladies first, on the skiff.
The first lesson learned was to plan the clean-up day and time so that the tide is near the highest so the boat can get close to shore. The second is to always make sure that your skiff outboard engine will start, not when you are in the water with two passengers, but maybe the day before. No matter how many times our captain pulled the start rope, the little engine would not even whimper. He stated that he had not started the engine for months. After several minutes of pulling, he gave up and started to row to the shore about 100 yards distant with my favorite beach comber.
When the skiff was some distance away, I notice that the bow, on which my sweetie was sitting, was a bit low in the water in a forward listing manner. Many hours later, when we finally were rejoined, I learned that the cold Atlantic water had breached the bow upon landing and dampened her rear, but, not her spirit. : )
Why, you wonder, did I not learn of the breaching hours later? After rowing back to our anchored boat, two more beach cleaning volunteers entered the skiff and were rowed in a stiff breeze and higher seas toward the untidy beach. But, the seas were too high, and we, at times, could not see the three and tiny skiff due to the peaks of the undulating Atlantic waves.
So, our sea-knowledgeable captain, chose not to chance a probable wet skiff landing and rowed the quiet-engined skiff 100 yards and two volunteers back to the rocking boat, secured the skiff, pulled up the anchor and headed off to the western side of the island where there was also rocky beach that needed tending. Kathleen and I waved to each other, she from the shore and me from the speeding boat.
On the western, much less windy side of the island, the seas were quieter and beaching the skiff much dryer and easier. But, my favorite beach comber was two miles away on the other side of the island with the residents.
By plan, a good one in retrospect, we all were to be dropped off at this western beach and work our way around the island while picking beach trash and meet up with the resident crew at the half-way point.
Anyway, I headed down the beach with my trash bags toward the other crew and Kathleen while walking the grid and cleaning up the many different unnatural beach items. There were plastic bottles, large lobster trap marking buoys, damaged, steel mesh lobster traps, long and short pieces of nylon rope and smaller plastic items.
I had more trash than I could carry by the time that I got to the point where we were to meet the other clean-up crew and Kathleen – no Kathleen, nobody in sight. So, I started back to the point where our crew was depositing the filled bags and where my water and backpack were stored.
Our captain had used the time to get the outboard engine started, probably by adding fresh fuel, but I did not ask. The next lesson learned was to securely beach the skiff so that it does not float back out to sea unattended. Our captain had landed the skiff and was chatting with our crew members and not watching his skiff. He had to quickly enter the cold Atlantic water to above his wading boots to retrieve the little skiff.
The next lesson learned was that the filled trash bags should be secured in the skiff before starting out to sea. With the tide higher, our captain had moored his boat near the island dock and planned to ferry our filled trash bags in the skiff to the secure boat. Twice, a bloated bag fell overboard and started floating back to the shore where it was retrieved and ferried to the boat.
Eventually, our crew and the other crew with Kathleen met at the island dock where we shared our stories. We boarded our captain’s boat and were transported, without a further lesson to be learned, back to the Tremont dock.
It was a beautiful day to clean the beaches of Great Gott Island and we plan to participate again next year.
On Sunday afternoon, we participated in a trail creation task at the new, yet-to-be-opened Acadia NP Welcome Center north of the island in Trenton. Kathleen and I worked with 20 other folks to create a 3-foot wide foot path with a 6-foot wide shoulder-high clearance. We cleared about ½ mile of trail of the 2-mile future walking path.
On Tuesday, we finished the Giant Slide bog walk and carried out the unused timbers, tools and old bog walk sections that we replaced.
Tomorrow, we will experience our first, ocean kayaking adventure. The sky is to be cloudless but the morning temperature is to be in the 50’s.
We have a week yet to enjoy the Island and the Park before we head for Lancaster, PA.
Have a great week.