Actually, we were mending fence stiles. The July floods toppled one of the fence stiles that allow Long Trail hikers to cross over electric fences in the farm fields along the Winooski River in Richmond and completely washed away another, closing a section of trail and pushing LT hikers to a road walk. This section of the LT is maintained by the Montpelier Section, but they have been busy helping repair the foundation of the Bamforth Ridge shelter, so the GMC staff asked if the Burlington Section could help, so David Hathaway, Rob Gordon, Ted Albers, Steve Titcomb, Scott Albertson, and Paul Beliveau met on Wednesday, August 23, to do so.
David brought pre-cut and (as much as possible) pre-assembled parts the stile. We had permission from Maple Wind Farm to drive across their field, which was a huge help. We assembled the pre-built side pieces into X’s on the ground, positioned them across the fence, and screwed in steps and diagonal braces underneath. Having five people to hold up sides, position pieces, check for square along all axes, and drive screws was a great help. Many thanks to Maple Wind Farm for letting us drive across their field to bring in the stile parts and tools.
Scott, Steve, and Ted managed to tip back up the toppled stile at the the north / west end of the fields (David had thought we’d need at least four, but they proved him wrong), but had to wait until David and Rob arrived to pick it move it a bit to the side to get into properly positioned. The bridge end that had been shifted was also moved back into position and is very stable. There was temporary electric fencing across the west field that we had to duck under in two places.
Paul worked somewhat independently, using a weedwhacker to clear grass along most of the path between the river access parking and the new stile location. He ran out of gas, but came back later to finish this section. He also cleared all blowdowns between Rt 2 and the Winooski bridge. Steve used his electric weedhacker to clear some more (until he ran out of battery). Scott uses David’s electric chainsaw to clear all blowdowns from the river access to the bridge.
There are a few more finishing touches and a lot more weed clearing needed, but we’ve managed to reopen this closed section of the Long Trail.