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Ward Creek — Expedition One

2012-02-26

After last winter’s Project Flowing Fountain it was time to do another project.  January’s recon run down Ward Creek added two blockaded bridges to the list of potential targets, and as they were both within the paddle-able extent of Ward Creek, I figured they’d make an excellent next project.

Well, if you’re going to attack a project, you may as well start big, I figure, so Expedition One would concentrate exclusively on the derelict “Dammed Bridge by Buzbee Drive”.  There was plenty of work there to easily fill a day and have several days (at the very least) left over.  Recalling the recon run, I knew the water to be too deep for waders, so I would definitely need assistance.  That being the case, Mike signed on to help (and to document the day, to boot).

We put in at East Harbor and paddled downstream.  The blockage at Pecue Lane was more pronounced than it had been on the recon run, but a quick portage had us around it and on our merry way.  By 10:00am, we were already well at work.

Our standard operating procedure on clearing expeditions is generally that Mike does most of the wet rigging and I do most of the actual pulling (using a two-ton “More Power Puller” comealong that’s built like a tank).  We both spend time pulling smaller limbs and trunks by hand, but the larger ones (and occasionally entire floating islands, hehe) get mechanical advantage applied to them.  All the pulling in anchored with wide 3-inch straps to protect the anchoring trees from abrasion, of course.

Well, after at least five solid hours of work, we managed to clear a good chunk of one bay of the derelict bridge.  It was not yet passable, but it was closer.  It should allow much better flow through, and hopefully it won’t get as blocked (or at least not quickly).  It’ll take more time to get a canoe lane open, but that wasn’t really the goal for this first expedition.  We wouldn’t want all the litter piled up on and behind the blockage to flow downstream, after all.

Mike made a nice time-lapse video of a good chunk of the day’s work.  I can’t help but feel a little tired every time I watch it.  Tired, but happy.

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