Rebuilding The Gulley Bridge


Building the bridge on the ground in the back pasture.

The Gulley Bridge, built by our friend Ed Gulley,  lasted six years.  It was washed away this summer in one of hard rains that filled the steam higher than I’ve ever seen it.

Today with Jon’s help, I rebuilt the bridge.

The two 18″ long 2x8s have been in the barn since Ben built the pole barn when we first moved to the farm.  I used them, some strips of 1x2s and a couple of cinderblocks.  The only thing I had to buy was a box of screws.

Zinnia at the part of the stream where the new Gulley Bridge would cross

I carried the long pieces of wood down to the stream one at a time and laid them on the ground just outside the fence leading to the stream and woods.  The I brought the drill, handsaw and one cinderblock to the stream  in the wheelbarrow.

I cut the strips of wood that would hold the two 18″ boards together.  After that I screwed the strips of wood to the boards.

That was basically the bridge.

While I was doing that, Jon was clearing the overhanging bushes from the path.  He cut a wide swatch, much wider than I would have, which gave me just the right amount of room I needed to navigate dragging the bridge through the gate and  across the stream.

That turned out to be the easy part.

The bridge dipped low when I walked over it.  Ed had put a big chunk of tree trunk under his bridge and nailed the boards to it.  That stump floated away when the bridge came down, but I had a feeling it wasn’t far upstream.

So I took a little walk and there it was not 20 feet away, caught in the bushes growing on the side of the stream.

I’d already been in the water to pull the bridge across the stream, so wading though it to get the stump of wood wasn’t a problem.   It’s in the forties today, and the water felt no colder than the air. When it spilled over the tops of my boots, my wool socks kept my feet warm.

The stump was too heavy for me to carry so I turned it end over end till I got to the bridge then maneuvered it under the bridge and behind he metal pole that Ed pounded into the steam bed.   I used a few screws to hold it all together.

The bank on the far side of the bridge is lower than the one closest to the gate.  But when I  propped the end of the bridge on a cinder block it was just the right height and made the bridge level.

I went back for the second cinderblock, but I’m not sure I’ll need it.  And by that time I was tired and cold, all that dragging and hauling wood through the stream wore me out.

I’ll think about the bridge and have another look at it over the weekend and decide if there is anything else I have to do.  But for now it’s good enough for me, Jon and the dogs to be able to get to the other side of the stream and into the woods without having to get our feet wet.

The new Gulley Bridge

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