LT Mile 178.8 — Montpelier Section — Elev. 1989 ft.

Replaced Gorham Lodge

“Where are all the %$@#* hooks to hang the paint cans?” The voice came from a Montpelier Section volunteer trying to stain the newly constructed Bamforth Ridge Shelter and brought me back to reality. After months of planning, weeks of preparation, and countless volunteer hours, the shelter walls were up, we were nailing down the roof, and the structure was almost complete.

Actually, we had forgotten the hooks, but after moving nine tons of building materials to a remote site three miles from any road and coordinating the efforts of sixty workers, leaving a few things behind can happen.

Planning

GMC staff and Montpelier Section volunteers began thinking about a new shelter after discovering that Gorham Lodge, on the north slope of Camel’s Hump, was destroyed by heavy snows in 2001. Where would the new lodge be located? And what type of structure would be built? A traditional log cabin like Butler Lodge? A post and-beam structure like Stratton Pond Shelter? The site that was eventually chosen offered views of ledges, was easily accessible from the Long Trail yet far enough away from the road and was equidistant from Montclair Glen Lodge and Duck Brook Shelter. The structure would be a milled log lean-to, from Authentic Log Homes of Hardwick, because it would look appropriate for the backcountry, avoid the labor-intensive construction of a typical log structure, and allow maximum volunteer involvement. 

Helicopter Fly

The drop zone crew arrived at the shelter site for an early start on July 18 (2002). We heard the helicopter as we hiked up Bamforth Ridge. ‘Twenty-four loads were transported to the drop zone. The toolbox came first, followed by bundles of lumber. Each load touched the ground gently, and the ground crew gave the pilot a “thumbs up” to release it. Then everyone scrambled to unhook the cargo netting or slings and got ready for the next trip.

On Saturday, August 3, a crew assembled at the staging area. Most of us had arrived the day before to tent in the woods and install six foundation pilings, the sill logs, and one additional log course. When the crew arrived on Saturday morning, they continued laying the courses and installed the tongue-and-groove flooring as the log walls rose around them. The construction took place over three weekends, for a total of seven days.  

Construction

Bamforth Ridge Construction , 2002

On Saturday, August 3, a crew assembled at the staging area. Most of us had arrived the day before to tent in the woods and install six foundation pilings, the sill logs, and one additional log course. When the crew arrived on Saturday morning, they continued laying the courses and installed the tongue-and-groove flooring as the log walls rose around them. The construction took place over three weekends, for a total of seven days.

Afterwards

This shelter began with an idea and a need, evolved into a place festooned with orange flagging tape and grade stakes, lost some of its trees, saw load after load of materials dropped by helicopter, hummed along with the noise of the generator, and then blossomed as crowds of eager, laughing people built it piece by piece.

The newly dedicated Bamforth Ridge Shelter seems alive today. I hear the laughter of our lunches and jokes told as we worked. I remember the views from the roof, the 300-pound kingpost that we lifted and shifted back and forth until it fell into place. This event carried with it the spirit of a barn raising, but maybe even more spirited for its distance from civilization.

Oh, yes, one last thing: Those @#% ! * hooks are on my list for the next shelter project, along with extra roofing felt, six penny nails, a good= attitude, and a willingness to volunteer again.

Helicopter Fly The drop zone crew arrived at the shelter site for an early start on July 18 (2002). We heard the helicopter as we hiked up Bamforth Ridge. ‘Twenty-four loads were transported to the drop zone. The toolbox came first, followed by bundles of lumber. Each load touched the ground gently, and the ground crew gave the pilot a “thumbs up” to release it. Then everyone scrambled to unhook the cargo netting or slings and got ready for the next trip.

On Saturday, August 3, a crew assembled at the staging area. Most of us had arrived the day before to tent in the woods and install six foundation pilings, the sill logs, and one additional log course. When the crew arrived on Saturday morning, they continued laying the courses and installed the tongue-and-groove flooring as the log walls rose around them. The construction took place over three weekends, for a total of seven days.


Bill Clark, Bamforth Ridge Shelter, Long Trail News, Winter 2002