Saturday, April 21, 2012

4/21/12 - Antenna Supports Installed

We have only to elevate our view a little, to see the whole forest as a garden. 
Henry David Thoreau - "Autumnal Tints," - The Atlantic Monthly in 1862 (posthumously)

It has been two weeks since I last saw the summit and the progress on the Summit Enhancement Project.  Two weeks?  Indeed.  Nothing happened the last time and it appeared that final events might appear rather slowly at this point as we await the final opening of the gate and dismemberment of the chain link fence that has kept us on the outer limits - for most of the past year.

With a large rain storm approaching later in the day, the summit was shrouded in an ocean of fog this morning, but certainly not so heavy that I could not see that the final stages are moving ahead.  What would have been impossible to see in the darkness of the early morning would have been any meteors coming from the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower - tonight 4/21/12 will be the best viewing time.  Some friends and myself were going up later tonight, but it won't be reasonable with the cloud cover. 

What I encountered this morning was a a large beetle standing on its tail end with a number of spiny arms extended all about it's torso!  Here ... have a look for yourself.

Beyond the Perimeter
I was really disappointed to see these spiny thorns sticking out from the four corners of the tower.  Kind of unsightly to me!  But ... that's what we have ... and it's not going away!  While the brackets are in place, it doesn't appear as if the actual wiring is complete.

Closer Detail of Antenna Mounts
I knew that these mounts were on the old tower but just how did they compare?  Answer:  very much the same - see below.

Old Tower - Antenna Mounts
With any construction project, there is still trash and waste to be removed from the site.  No change here!  Just a different load.

Closer inspection from the northern wall shows that finally .... finally, the vertical access ladder is in place.  Essentially, it is an extension ladder inserted into a safety tube (round rings in picture).  The Rangers will extend the ladder down to the Observation Deck, climb to the first landing, retract the extension, and continue up the remaining two flights of stairs to the cab.

Access Ladder from Observation Deck
Old Tower Fades Away in Fog Bank
And she really is fading away day by day.  The new tower is coming into focus as the prime attraction on the summit of Wachusett.
Eastern Wall Ramp, and Observation Deck Above.
NE Corner
Southern Wall
I'm not sure this chain link fence can handle much more beating.  Every visit gives a new bend or break.  But the time has almost arrived anyway.

Ramp Entrance
And for the fifth straight week, we see the same beam on the ground beside and in front of the ramp!  I still wonder where it should have gone in the construction process!  But, the backhoe and the lift vehicle have now left the site.  Probably for good now.

One thing ... actually four things will soon be missing from the summit ... strung like cloths lines from the ground to the top of the old tower are four guy wires, actually cables, about .500" in diameter, evenly spaced, one on each corner of the tower cab and affixed about 2/3 of the way to the top.  Providing support in strong windy conditions, they, along with the tower, cab, generator and power station, and fencing at the base, will soon be part of Wachusett's history when the old tower comes down.  At this time, I don't know the timing or the future disposition.

Guy Wire - Ground Level to Cab (NE Corner)
The fog limited any more viewing at this hour, just after sunrise.  The temperature was 56° F with winds of about 20 MPH from the SW.

I will be attending this coming weeks meeting of the Mt. Wachusett Advisory Committee at the Visitor's Center.  Perhaps I can learn some more details of the future.

Hopefully, my next visit will provide a nice beautiful sunrise with, of course, no fog or clouds.

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