Tocher Ridge Lookout - Log

June 20 - Setup of Environment Project

Connect with Joe Jazvac, explains the opportunity.
123 Willow park accepts the challenge.
Joe hikes up to take pictures and measurements to help estimate work and materials.
After receiving mail package we review and pass on estimates to Joe who passing it onto the department head for approval. Owing to our low labor costs and efficient use of materials, management decided to approve the restoration project.

July 4 - Planning meeting

Identifying the tasks, what we needed, and who would be assigned to follow it through. Ezra took on the Bike repair night (as well and borrowing 3 bikes).
Daniel took on Menu and Groceries.
Left to do were Entertainment, Tools, Group gear, Map and Info note to parents.
Leaders picked up Tools and group gear, Karl took on Map and info note.

July 9 - Sunday

Connected with Sniders who had about 10 bikes rusting in a rack in the back yard. They indicated that the scouts would be welcomed to use any they wished and not to worry if any got wrecked. Ezra lined up a time to come by and pick out the needed bikes.

July 13 - Thursday Night:

Bike repair night
Had to pick up a couple free girls bikes that Colleen Hogan had offered. They had been locked up in her garage for a few years. The combination locks had been forgotten so she gave me direction to a fellow with a cable cutter.
That evening we showed up at Sniders and picked out what the boys thought were the best and needed the least work. They got dropped off at home and started to repair process. I drove over and picked up the cutters and went over to cut free the 2 girl bikes and brought them home to the repair crew. The boys quickly noticed the almost new looking parts which ended up replacing all but the frames on the old bikes.
We had picked up new cables from the CyclePath up in the neighborhood (They offers discounts for Scouts).

July 15 - Saturday

Tune up bikes
We adjusted the brake cables and shifter mechanism.

July 16 - Sunday

Meet with parents and hand out maps and info sheets.
Joe takes up a volunteer group made up of 2 girls to get some of the building material up to the Lookout.

July 17 - Monday Night

Groceries -
Daniel had made the menu and applied the math of 3 adults 5 boys to calculating the groceries needed. Dad organized to list into grocery store order.
Ezra showed up to help in the effort of shopping. We hit Superstore at 7:00 and didn't get out until 10:00 p.m. (How does Mom do it so fast?). Once home we semi organized it and put what ever we could into the freezer.

July 18 - Tuesday:

A.M. Got a note from Joe that he would have a complimentary site reserved for us and a work pass to get into the parks.
Daniel and Ezra organized the supplies and loaded the trailer with bikes. The leaders got in around 5:30. Work started in earnest to get the rest loaded.
Left at 7:00 only 1 hour off schedule.
We reached the campground at about 10:00 pm Nice note on the closed and full camp office window indicated we had site 32 reserve. Joe set us up with a nice camp spot in the Campground amongst large pines with the river rapids in the background. There was paint, sheet tin and chicken wire already there, staking out our site when we got there. We set up the 2 tents, Jesse & Dad in one, the 4 other boys in the other and Rich and myself in the van. We had the use of hot showers & flush toilets and a free woodpile. A review of our group cooking equipment came up short when we needed a pan to fry our mushrooms. The menu identified a marinated steak with butter-fried mushrooms and a baked potato. The potatoes had been pulled hot from the oven when we left and were still warm. We approached our neighbor and offered a plate of fried mushrooms for the use of their pan. They were happy to oblige us. Dinner was superb.
Joe arrived just after we were setup to check on us and make sure we got in OK. We made arrangements to head out at 9:00 am.

July 19 - Wednesday:

Next morning we had the traditional high fat breakfast and got all packed up; Joe arrived with 2 Young Canada Works staff, Mark Vennari & Travis Haliday,  to help us up the trail. He assessed our boys & their load and  quickly sent Mark & Travis back to pick up larger packs. Then, all loaded, we took off to the trial head parking lot.
Once the bikes were unloaded and packs strapped on we hopped on the bike and headed up the trail. My high center of gravity caused me to end up turtled on my back after trying to mount the bike.
We made great time on the 1st 6km. On dismount at the end a small backpack carrying a can of paint popped open when tossed to the ground. Word spread fast to gently lower the pack when taking a break.
The hike continued for another 6km of gently inclines. The sun got quite hot (ranked as 1 of the hottest we would see for the season). We finally reached a large fallen log that marked the split in the trail and started the steep switch back ascent (the bulk of the almost 1km elevation gain)
We crossed a fresh water stream a couple of times and cooled ourselves in them and loaded up our canteens. The trail kept alternating between extreme and easy zigs and zags until the final one up to the lookout. Joe could see the strain on the group now with the high heat and heavy loads. He signaled his 2 assistants to who were still holding their own quite well to blaze ahead, drop their packs at the lookout and come back to relieve the boys. They agreed this was a good plan and hurried off.
The last zig and zap seemed extra arduous. I made sure my pack was extra heavy to keep me sensitive to what the boy were experiencing. Need the end I was only able to take 6in. steps up the steep slope.  Ranger Joe spelled me off on the 100-lb. pack and seemed quite un-phased by the endurance test.
Finally Joe's 2 assistance Mark & Travis met the leads of our group. They loaded off the tired scouts and soon Ranger Joe was meeting us at the rear to off load our packs. It was heaven to finally reach the top and not be carrying a pack.
The trip in the heat kept us from getting the full impact of the beauty of all the peaks visible from the lookout. We rested a bit and worked out sleeping arrangements and got dinner started. Ranger Joe instructed us on how to use the radio to keep in touch and arranged a call in time at 1:00pm Friday.
Joe had to be back down with his 2 assistant as they had other work commitments the next morning. Well they headed back at about 9:30pm. We assumed they'd be walking all night.

July 20 - Thursday

We got up early, had breakfast and divided into 3 work groups. 1 scraping   old paint,  another removing Tin around the base, and the 3rd clearing the old junk leaning up around the Lookout and collecting debris into one spot
Boys had lunch and after the scraping team got into the priming of the wood. The debris removal team  were able to discover the Pack Rat entrance. They ate their way through 1 of the louvered air vents at the base corners, the screen in between and the plywood sliding door on the other side used. This team along with the tin removers worked together on repairs and patching the walls where the porcupines and Pack Rats chewed their way though.
After diner the boys played some card games while  2 leaders continued the work. It stayed light till after 10:00pm.

July 21 - Friday

Up early again the boys got to start painting the finish coat on the 2nd floor.  They team below was wrapping the base with chicken wire  over the primed wood and reapplying the tin. They cistern didn't seam to capture water as the eaves troughs were needing adjustment. Most of the rock and sand was washed out from under that corner. The  corner at other end was graded too high so a team dug out the rocks and sand and used it to fill the other corner. We wanted to make it difficult for short porcupines to get at walls above the tin.
For R&R the boys took plastic garbage bags and tried luge down the large long snow patches. It didn't take much of a slope to really build up some speed. One of the leaders gave it an attempt and miscalculated where he wanted to stop.  After some minor 1st Aid he was back at easier things like working on the Lookout.
Called in with Joe on the radio, asked it there was any likelihood of getting more paint and chicken wire, plus a full sheet of tin to cover the Door. He didn't thing it was likely to round up troops into for tomorrow, but would try. Who wouldn't want to take a Friday night and hike up a steep mountain with paint and chicken wire. Its the perfect date!
Spent the rest of the work day painting trim standard Parks Canada green. Bugs got a bit out of control and we resorted to some bee keeping tricks.

July 22 - Saturday

About 4:30 am we heard voices outside, but chalked it up to the boy upstairs with the windows open talking. Finally at 6:00 am I hopped out of bed hearing bacon frying outside. This doesn't sound like our boys. Sure enough Joe left after work got those volunteers (Jenny Kingsley and Adam Mills) with the materials and headed up the trail around midnight.
He made a mean breakfast of bacon and eggs for our whole crew. The teams were keen on showing Joe all that had been done. Joe and his colleges were impressed and thanked everyone for their efforts. We still were looking at getting a few more tasks done before we left. Joe and team needed to get back for work assignment and after some group shots left.
We put final touches on the exterior, the new aluminum sheet to cover the door,  a new tin roof on the outhouse, with some re-constructive work on the frame and seat. A quick tidy inside and we headed out.
We got to our bikes in 1/2 the time it took us getting up. Once on the bikes we blazed out (except for a flat). The weather was cool with a  bit of mist, a big switch from the trip up.
We stopped at the Natural Bridge with all the tour busses, it was impressing to see all that water flushing down and though this hole in the rock. Took a quick trip into Field and dropped some stuff off at Joes humble abode. We missed Joe who was madly getting together thankyou packages for the boys. Called him later, we found out we even missed pop-cycles, but he indicated he'd mail the stuff up, except for the pop-cycles.