Barr Creek bridge installation: Marmots are terrible

I’d made an attempt to rustle up some people to install the bridge over Barr Creek (as part of the new route to the Harrison Hut) but in the end everyone either bailed or stopped responding to emails. Because I’m an idiot and try to do what I’ve said I’m going to do even if it no longer makes sense I ended up going anyways.

At the 11th hour on Friday (11 pm, specifically) Scott Webster lent me his 4WD, which was super nice of him.

All the junk that was supposed to be divided up between a number of people end up in my pack which weighed in at 96 lbs. That’s getting sort of heavy but I didn’t think it’d be that big a deal because I’m dumb. It really busted my ass. I think the biggest factor is that I’m chubby and lazy but the amount of side-hill didn’t help either. The hardware for the bridge railing was long and heavy so it stuck out of the pack a ways and there was no way I could load things that wasn’t totally lopsided. It took me 10.5 hours to hike from the trail head to Barr Creek. Even after I dropped the bridge gear, which reduced the pack to basically nothing, it still took two hours to reach the hut because I was in zombie mode.

There is a marmot, or several, that live in the outhouse at the hut. It or they are total perverts. After they crap all over the seat area, it’s still not enough for them to get their rocks off, so they pull the used toilet paper out of the poo pile and fling it around all over the place because that’s what floats their boat. I can only assume that after they do this they jerk right off and that the inside of the outhouse is covered in a layer of dried marmot scud.

The next morning I scampered down to Barr Creek and started trying to get things lined up, which was a very fiddly process. Once I started moving bridge sections around, the rocks that Ben and crew had installed to keep things level fell out. After one clamp was installed on each side things got dramatically tippy. Walking back and forth was like being on one of those core-strength trainer things.  To see where to drill holes I needed to install all the scaffolding hardware, mark locations, remove stuff to allow clearance for the drill, drill, reinstall and check fit, adjust subsequent hole positions. This process was repeated 32 times. The drill itself (Hilti’s flagship battery-powered hammer drill) went through the rock like shit through a goose and did more than 40 holes in granite, including three 1″x6″ holes for the railing posts, on one battery.

Veenstra likes to test me sometimes, so he cut and drilled all the posts such that they didn’t come within an inch of bolting to the bases. There was a period of exasperated sawing. I was around when he was drilling the holes and he was disturbed that the samples he was using were all slightly different lengths, so he tried to get the exact average. As it turned out none of the samples were even close to what they were supposed to attach to, and he never checked the fit at any point during the process. One of the posts was missing a bolt hole, and I didn’t have the drill bit that was the right size, so I ended up having to drill a hole smaller than the bolt and chew it larger in a shameful display of tool abuse.

I wrapped up operations at 4:00 pm. With the railing hardware mostly installed, the pack was a lot lighter (only 47 lbs when I weighed it at home), and I got back to Scott’s truck at 8:55.

Pemberton Meadows Road is too long.

Even more terribly, shortly after I passed Pemberton, something fell apart on the 3rd/4th synchro shaft in Scott’s transmission. The transmission was mostly busted in the first place, and I really don’t think it was my fault at all, but I still feel like the worst guy in the history of time. I’m still arguing with Scott about who should deal with it. He thinks he should because the transmission was already mostly busted and I would feel really bad if I didn’t. That is a much better situation than each of us trying to get the other one to deal with it, but it’s still not exactly peachy.

I spent all of my time at work on Monday pouring coffee through myself in an attempt to remain reasonably productive.

There are pictures here. I set permissions on the one of my busted ass so that you can only see it if you’re logged into the gallery—I was wary of random co-workers bumping into it. It is a picture of a mangled, out-of-shape dude-ass, so if that’s not what you want to see, then you shouldn’t log in.

(If anyone is wondering, the plan is to cut down the posts so that they’re not tripping hazards. And put a railing up. And clear the log jam. I just ran out of time.)

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