View Full Version : Chairback Gap Shelter rebuilt

10-13-2009, 16:02
Chairback Gap lean-to repairs in September were a great success, thanks to the help of 11 thru hikers who were participating in the "Trails End." festival in Millinocket.

Laura Flight, MATC campsite Chair, reports in the MATC newsletter, which went to press today, that the lean-to is now level, the front three rotting logs and deacon’s bench were replaced, and the bunk floor and joists were replaced in an admittedly slightly un-level fashion, but still a tremendous improvement from the previous undulating surface. Gone as part of the reconstruction are the famous Chairback Gap "baseball bat" bunk platform.

Laura gives special thanks to Bruce Grant and Paul Renaud; Paul organized the “Trails End Festival” in Millinocket that weekend. He not only recruited 11thru-hikers to help with the campsite project as part of “Hard Core,” but also transported them from the trail, to the work site, back to the trail; and fed them, which is not a feat to underestimate!

On Friday, the thru-hikers helped the other MATC volunteers carry in the lumber for the bunk floor as well as all of the tools needed for the weekend’s repairs; many hands do indeed make light work!

The old adage was also reinforced when the logs previously felled, peeled, and milled on site needed to be moved about 150 feet to the lean-to, and one up a substantial bank. Eight folks with slings negotiated the logs over rough terrain quite easily. The “Hard Core” crew of thru-hikers called it a day after that work, and the rest did soon thereafter as well.

The next day the remaining MATCers jacked up the lean-to and leveled it. Time was also spent searching for the perfect combination of rocks on which to perch the structure. Erica, an MATC volunteer, who split one rock using improvised tools of a maul and a spike won the “never quit” award indeed!

The front three logs were removed and replaced, creating a new gap in the Chairback Gap Leanto. Because the volunteers jacked and leveled the lean-to, it sat much higher than before, which we had omitted from our calculations.

Combined with the three new logs that are larger than the previous ones in their place, a ladder or some other sort of ascending mechanism would have been needed to actually enter the lean-to.

So Lester Kenway, new MATC president, reached for his trusty saw, and took the middle section out of the top log (see photo), and thus the “gap” is back in Chairback Gap, to quote Lester.

With a now level structure, the chainsaw massacre of the old bunk floor ensued, “baseball bats” included, replaced by blind-nailed v-match pine. The entire final product was something to be proud of for sure.

Laura reports that "a lot of good work was accomplished thanks to the many volunteers and good planning. Next year we have hopes of adjusting the levelness of the bunk floor as well as replacing the roof. Many helpers would be appreciated for these tasks, as materials and tools will need to be ferried to and from the lean-to. "

"We hope to partner again next year with the Trails End Festival, which will likely be the second weekend in September. So mark your calendars now, and watch for updates on the website." (http://www.matc.org/announcements.html#worktrip) for more information.

Note, this report was excerpted from a report Laura did for the "MAINEtainer."


10-13-2009, 17:55
great news. when i thru next year, i'm hoping to spend at least a couple days helping with trail maintenance or a project like this. i'll be through before september, but the timing of this annual work-weekend is a good one for peak thru-hiker season in maine.