The property that NCSS resides on came with all kinds of interesting surprises. One of those happens to be a pile of telephone polls that somehow made their way into the woods. The first time I noticed them there, I immediately thought of 20 or 30 uses for them. I was most excited about the idea of building a foot bridge over the creek to provide easier access to the south side of NCSS. That thought triggered a slew of lessons. Some frustrating, some painful and some were astonishing realizations of my own limitations and the incredible usefulness of the friends who helped and the tools I had at hand.
The first hurdle was how to move the 35-foot beasts from their home in the woods to the
creek. A couple of great friends, the kind that will help you do just about anything without question, came out to help. Our plan was to try the simplest method first, and it surprisingly worked. We only broke a strap or two dragging them through the woods with the side-by-side. This was one of many times I was amazed at my friend’s willingness to bust their backs with me. We drug 7 monstrous telephone poles to the edge of the creek while sharing ideas, stories, and beers. It was a spectacular day!
The next challenge was a big one! I had to get the poles across the creek to act as the 2 main support beams. The creek bank is about a 20 foot drop down to the creek bed so getting the poles across was no easy feat. Lessons were learned about leverage, gravity, the pulling strength of a winch, and when to call it a day.
Once both telephone poles were across the creek, they needed to be in just the right place…or as close as possible anyway. This task proved to be one of the more challenging. There were multiple attempts. Coins were tossed on whether to keep working after the sun set via headlamps or try again in the morning. Countless ideas of
how to hoist, pull and push the massive tar-soaked poles into place ranged from downright ridiculous to surprisingly clever. More than a few lessons were learned about physics and patients.
The foot bridge project was completed with all recycled materials, great friends, a lot of improvising, and the good old Honda Pioneer 700 side-by-side. Special thanks go out to Steve and Ben for all their hard labor and great ideas on this project! Out of all the lessons I learned from this project, I'm most grateful for the lesson I learned about having a couple of good buddies you can count on, laugh with, and lean on.
- Andre Branning
Owner & Operator
Nature Connect LLC