Monday, September 07, 2009

Labour All Over

(and now, making a rare reappearance on the blog...)

I joined in with a group of local climbers volunteering to do some trail maintenance at Great Falls park. (Will work for food: they fed us bagels beforehand, mini Clif bars on the go, and veggieburgers afterward.)

Swinging a pickaxe was a relaxing way to burn off energy and the people were great to spend time with. I may have met another couple of people I can climb with. Best of all, it was wonderful to just be out in the woods for the just feels like a cathedral to me.

Our work crew spent four hours re-shaping the grade of 30-foot stretch of trail to redirect runoff so that water bars (which slow trail erosion) would once again be able to do their job.

The tools are a Pulaski and a McLeod, both invented by midwestern firefighters to minimize the number of tools that had to be carried when being dropped into forest fires. McLeod tool is a combined rake/hoe that Wikipedia describes as a "Tough, solid raking tool widely used by wildland firefighters at the fireline. Doubles as a hoe or tamper for use in matted leaves and moving loose ground rubble."

Today's Tool Tips:

The Pulaski combines an axe and a mattock in one head, similar to that of the cutter mattock...and is ideal for constructing firebreaks, as it can be used to both dig soil and chop wood. It is also well adapted for trail construction, gardening, excavation, digging holes in root-bound or hard soil. The invention of the pulaski is widely credited to Ed Pulaski, a ranger with the United States Forest Service, in 1911, who saved the lives of a crew of 45 firefighters during the disastrous August 1910 wildfires in Idaho. His invention may have been a direct result of the disaster, as he saw the need for better firefighting tools. The pulaski came into wide use by the Forest Service after 1913, and in 1920 the Forest Service began contracting for the tool to be commercially manufactured.

Sunday JJ and I took a couple hours to go cycling from our place over a path that opened in early summer and now lets you cycle across the Wilson Bridge to National Harbour (what's there? Besides the Gaylord where Lorne and Corinne stayed? The Gelato place, of course!)

Today was going to climb outside, but overcast with forecast rain isn't so great, so spent some time updating Flickr online photos for slideshow for birthday party, and will get out to yoga. Quiet day.

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