Saturday, May 5, 2012

5/5/12 - Cinco de Mayo, Night of Supermoon

A slight sound at evening lifts me up by the ears, and makes life seem inexpressibly serene and grand. It may be Uranus, or it may be in the shutter.  Henry David Thoreau, Journal, July 10 - 12, 1841

A beautiful night will soon be upon us, but a quick jaunt to the summit was called for today to view, in the daylight, what might have transpired over the past two weeks.  What I found is that the activity is happening solely within the bunker and perhaps a little movement from the old tower to the new.  All pretty much invisible to the eye.  Apparently we will just have to wait for the project engineers to determine that the new home for the fire rangers is ready for occupancy!  Thus ... nothing new today.

There is no heavy equipment in sight.  All that remains within the perimeter of the site are two pallets of plates and miscellaneous steel supports, the silver crow's nest, the steel beam at the base of the access ramp, the bales of hay which continue to protect the survey marker, a pile of large boulders, a dumpster of debris and trash, a picnic table and the portable outhouse for the construction workers.  A gentle breeze finds its way over the northwestern edge of the summit, across the clear open grounds of the construction site, and down the southern slopes.

I previously mentioned that I would be attending the April 25th meeting of the Wachusett Mountain Advisory Council.  I can report here a most interesting meeting.  Be glad that there are dedicated folks from a number of organizations looking out for our beloved Mt Wachusett.

I quote from an email report that I sent to my friends after the meeting.
And ... I saw a picture of High Meadow as they have recently cleared it and cut it back to what it should be!  Looks great; you and Leslie will love it.

Tower itself ... essentially complete.  Now moving communications equip. from Parker House, antennas  and the fiber optic cable.  Road expected to open Memorial Day and ... hopefully, the old tower down by that time as well.  Getting close esp. with the antenna moves.  Actually need an occupancy permit.  There will actually be some landscaping and interpretive signage on the summit.  Heard all about the Wachusett Ski projects - new pumping station to increase capacity from 4500 gpm to 7500 gpm. Needed because 4500gpm will only do half the mt trails at one time; this added capacity will allow them to do the whole mt. at once so a real good snow making night will give full coverage, whereas before, they could only do half.

Big story of the night ... an application had been submitted for recognition of Wachuestt Mt as a National Historic Site on the National Registry. (whatever the official name is)... Funds submitted with application by Princeton, Westminster, and ... because funds were lacking for the full payment ... by this one resident of Princeton ... the lady who appeared and spoke...Yup, anonymously, she put in her piece of the pie to complete the funding requirements.  Everything was going alone well for months ....  BUT ... SURPRISE, SURPRISE ... she recently got a check sent back for the amount of her contribution!!  Why?  because, unbeknown by most ... the ski area pulled out ... didn't care, [or whatever was the case.]  And so the application was pulled and money refunded....

The Rep from the Ski area didn't appear to know anything about this; nor did the Reservation Supervisor (Denise Morrisey), and another gentleman from DCR, nor the Council Chairman!!  No one except this lady.  WOW ....

One of the short topics on the ski list of projects was to remove two large boulders - not quite like Balance Rock.  The group unanimously ... they didn't vote, but you could hear it in their comments and their expressions ... rebelled against that one.... in the minutes, they curtly reported  "no comment."   One guy said, "so you ski into a tree or a boulder, what's the difference?"  another:  "that rock was there 10,000,000 years ago and you want to move it?  We do little things to our environment each year ... and .little by little ...." ... not pleased with that proposal, for sure.

The superintendent is real excited and pleased with the visitor count so far ... "people are excited to get out and hike; the phone doesn't stop ringing." 
 Below is what I found today.

Finished Tower

Haybales Protecting the Survey Marker

Final Days of the Old Tower

NW Corner ... awaits visitors

Tower with Antennas - Not Yet Connected

Western Wall
 As I walked along the western perimeter of the site, I checked out, once again, the old tower ... looking for markers that will soon disappear.  Here's one that I had not previously noticed - a large circular temperature gauge - now obscured somewhat by an aged faceplate which covers the dial face of a cardinal.  It is no longer readable.

Relic from Old Tower
I also took a picture of one of the guy wires ... better shot this week.
NE Guy Wire for Old Tower
Old Tower Cab
I tried to see if I might determine if any antennas have moved to the new tower.  Can't tell ... are they moving them or installing new ones?  Two green stubby probes are on the SE corner of the roof of the old cab, and just below the new cab, on a couple of antenna supports, I spotted similar devices.

Apart from these stubby green sticks, the other antennas are metal-like and of various diameters.

And what do we have in front of the observation deck ramp at ground level?  Of course, the 6' long square steel beam, still looking for a home!

Leftover Beam
Walking the Perimeter - Crow's Nest
 Crow's Nest on the south side of the site still awaits a final ride and installation atop the cab.

Inside the Perimeter - East Side facing North
View towards Worcester

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