Sunday, July 24, 2011

7/24/11 - Mystery of the Wall - Resolved

Our eyes rested on no painted ceiling nor carpeted hall, but on skies of nature's painting, and hills and forests of her embroidery. Before sunset, we rambled along the ridge to the north, while a hawk soared still above us. It was a place where gods might wander, so solemn and solitary, and removed from all contagion with the plain.
H. D. Thoreau - A Walk to Wachusett
I am back today once again but this time to get a good run up Old Indian Trail.  The rain has left the county and the sun shines brightly on Wachusett.  While not a day for the construction workers to be on the summit, I did have the good fortune to meet a Reservation Ranger as well as one of the State Fire Tower employees.  

And it was from them that I learned the purpose of "the wall."  While it is near the Survey Marker, it has nothing to do with that.  The intent of the project is to use as much material from the site as possible - thus, the stone will be used as the exterior facade of the tower!  Outstanding.  The workers are putting up the "dummy wall" in order to get a perspective on what it might look like in the end.
Test Wall for the Base Tower Facade
 The rangers informed me that the marker would be preserved when the final landscaping was complete at the end of the project.  And the end of the project, you ask??  The best they could say was: "hopefully by the end of Fall.  And that would include the parking lot."  They were careful to indicate that that date is to plan and that is all just on paper.

Parker Lodge Antennas - view toward Worcester (S).
 A longer range part of the project will be the relocation of the communications towers that currently sit beside Parker Lodge - adjacent to the Summit Pond.   Eventually, they will come down and the antennas which sit on them will be relocated to a new tower to be located at the far end of the parking lot ... more out of site, although it will be 20 - 25 feet higher due to the need to house all the antennas on one structure.

Radio Relay Towers - view toward Monadnock (N).
As to the towers on the north of the summit, these belong to the federal government and they will not be moving.  Enough said there!
I also learned from the Fire Ranger that the fire watch alert level was very high today and thus they were on duty in the fire tower. 
Fire Tower Manned and Ready to Sound Alerts.
I have previously wondered about the schedule of dismantling the old tower and how it relates to the new tower.  The rangers were just full of information.  
In order to maintain adequate fire watch capability, the project must carefully coordinate the dismantling of one tower and construction and relocation of the fire protection gear to the new one.  In the end, the generators and power supply which currently service the tower and sit within an enclosed area at the base of the tower, will be relocated to "within" the base of the new tower!  Yesterday, I was wondering about what was going into the "basement" area around which the walls are being formed today.  That's the answer ... support equipment for the tower operations.
What about the new observation deck?  The new observation deck will be approximately 10 feet above ground level and will be accessible by a ramp that wraps around the outside of the structure.
Rebar showing the Ramp as it gets higher and higher.

View from opposite direction ... rebar height increasing as the ramp goes higher.
It was a beautiful day, and as Thoreau wrote of the hawk that soared above them while they walked along the "ridge to the north," one could experience the same today.  The hawk still soars over the ridge to the north.  Come visit Wachusett; surely you too will see the hawk and experience the beauty of the mountain.

Hawk Soars Above Wachusett [double click to enlarge - Hawk is right in the center of picture.]

Old Indian Trail on the Ridge to the North

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