Tuesday, July 5, 2011

7/5/11 - Men at Work

As for my own business, even that kind of surveying which I could do with most satisfaction my employers do not want. They would prefer that I should do my work coarsely and not too well, ay, not well enough. When I observe that there are different ways of surveying, my employer commonly asks which will give him the most land, not which is most correct.
Thoreau - Life Without Principle 1863

It was a "Floating Holiday" at my place of work today, and I figured, this should be a regular work-day on the summit!  I should go up and see what’s going on since most of my trips are relegated to weekends.  

And sure enough, a work-day it was!  I could hear a rat-a-tat-a-tat going before I even got to Up Summit Road – a huge jack hammer as it turned out to be.  That was in the lower parking lot which is pretty well leveled now.  Progress is really obvious there.  The old lower parking lot has been ripped up, expanded to the south and completely leveled.  With this enlargement, the number of parking spaces will increase from 29 in the lower lot to 57 - obviously a big increase in that area.  Note however that there will be NO access by vehicle to the summit parking as we know it today.. All parking will be in the new lower lot.

Jackhammer - lower parking lot from the Mt. House Trail approach to the summit.

New Retaining Wall - south side of new parking lot.

New Parking lot from current entrance off Up Summit Road.

On top, they continue with the footing on the eastern front as the backhoe “back-fills” around the footing to the west which is already complete.  On the eastern front, a surveyor was busy at work getting things all lined up for the final forms on the footing.

I spoke to the backhoe driver (he looked like a “boss!”) and asked two questions.  When is this project scheduled for completion and what are the hay bales covering?   To the first, he said that they would be finished on the tower by the end of August, although the parking lot and landscaping would continue for a couple of months longer.  Sounds like an early Fall completion.  Which led to the question of disposition of the old tower.  He said that it was not in their contract, and that it would be staying for a couple of years as best he could tell – budgets, etc.  Crazy, we both agreed.  Once the new tower and ground work is complete, the old tower is pretty much on an island.  Unless you get to it from the back side, you would have to traipse right over the new work!  Hummmm???  And as for the bales of hay, he confirmed my suspicion that it is for protection of the survey marker.  

That is a good thing.  Along with other historic graffiti markings and carvings into the rocky ledges about the summit, the marker will be preserved rather prominently.

Cleaning the bedrock in preparation of foundation work.
Project site viewed from the present road as it crests the summit into the parking lot.
Absolutely essential ... a surveyor with the latest high tech instruments.
No project in Thoreau Country is complete without Henry's tools of the trade: the surveyor's level.  The object is the same, but the tools with which one does survey work today are much more sophisticated.  Over the years, Wachusett has had considerable surveying work done from her slopes.  As previously mentioned, the summit marker placed by surveyors in the 1860's is being preserved for all to see once the project is complete.  And how many of us have walked and driven about the parking lot, never knowing of that simple marker placed over 150 years ago?

Closeup of the jackhammer at work at entrance to new parking lot.
Paved drive to the left is the old entrance to the parking lot.
You can see from this view how the tree line has been cut back to provide additional space for the enlarged parking lot.

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