When I first came to Nuk Tessli I used to hike out every month for mail. It was necessary to wade a river, which was sometimes chest deep in high water and very difficult to cross. Finally I found a place at the outlet of Octopus Lake for a footlog bridge.
The lake is over an hour’s hike from the cabins. I took a comalong, chainsaw, smaller tools, and an overnight camp up there, and spent 2 and half days up to my chest in water to build the bridge. Part of the problem was that the high altitude prevented the trees from growing long enough to span the river and I had to drag or float the logs for a very long way.
After about 4 years a big spring flood washed the bridge completely away. Two wwoofers and I built another, and tried to place it much higher. But last fall’s flood took that away, too. Fortunately, it got snagged around the rope handrail so the logs were still there.
My spring wwoofers tried to fix it but the water was too high when they were here.
A few days ago 5 men flew in to the lake above mine, to camp for a few days, and they came to Nuk Tessli to get information on hiking routes and borrow a couple of canoes. I figured their “rent” would be to help me fix the bridge.
I no longer had the comalong so we had to rely on small hand tools and lots of rope and muscle power. The bridge was still half floating and was very wobbly to cross.
First the men pulled the near end up onto the pile of rocks.
They did better when they used a small tree for a lever.
Next they tackled the other end
It had to be moved onto the cross log on the right of the picture.
(What good fortune to have such a hot, sunny day!)
The smaller log had to be propped with rocks to make it level.
And here is the finished bridge. It took all afternoon to get it in place but it is once more a good solid bridge.
The five men met in business school in Texas. They get together every year for a wilderness vacation. Instead I asked them to work hard! They certainly earned their canoes. Thankyou, guys.