We continue to expand the trail system on our property in the Great Northwet, and that’s not a spelling error. Here in western Oregon many areas that are passable in summer become higher-than-boots water in winter. One spot we have is a small wetland that is fed by a stream that runs year-round, just not as torrential during the dry months. I decided it would be a good place to put a small stump-and-plank bridge so that we could connect two trails we like to use.
I had some 20 inch diameter cedar posts that would work well for the bases. Planted in water and being cedar, they would not rot anytime soon. I cut them with a chain saw and then the fun part began – digging holes in deep mud, in water. Even in summer, it is a very boggy area. My goal was to dig until I hit more solid ground, but of course the sludge would just pour back into the hole as I shoveled. I dammed up in front of each hole as I dug to divert some of the water, and that helped. Mostly it just took persistence and a bit of mind over matter.
I set the posts 10 feet apart for my 2×10 planks. If you use something smaller for planks, it is probably best to space the posts closer together. I cut the planks so that they centered on the posts and screwed them down. Then I used metal strapping to tie them together. I could add another deck using smaller dimension lumber to really beef it up, which I’ve done for other bridges on the property (more on them later!), but after walking across this bridge every day for several months now, it seems to be all we need for such a short span – about 40 feet. I might punch some metal posts on each end and the center and add a rope railing for balance. In any case, it’s not a bridge for the non-sober!
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