Rough and Tumble
Vermont's Long Trail 2003
String of Puncheons Coming Off Harmon Hill
7/23/03 Tumble says, "I don't like puncheons for several reasons. They are usually rough cut logs and sometimes they are planks and are always slippery when wet. They span dark, muddy, or swampy waters. Unless nailed at either end or in the middle to perpendicular chunks of log, they rest precariously on large rocks. Sometimes puncheons are so rotted and the nails so loose that when I step on one end the other end flies in the air like a seesaw and dumps me off backwards. At other times the supporting log or rock underneath is insecure and tips the puncheon right or left, threatening to shake me off sideways into dark, muddy waters below when I'm half way across. Using my poles to steady myself is of no use. The puncheons are so far above solid ground below that I end up poling in mid air or into a bottomless pit of muddy water or having my poles slide around on the wet wood. Two people on the same puncheon increases the risks of a muddy or harmful dunking. From years past Rough knows that hopping on a puncheon before I'm off isn't safe. He waits for me to get safely across before stepping on. I've also learned not to step on the end that extends beyond the cross supports but directly on the cross section where the nails are. As much as I am grateful for puncheons across swampy areas, I really wish I didn't have to cross so many."