The last time I saw Draper Lake was before the collision six months ago. The first image shows the far western end of the project, with some of the old road still there, but not going very far, while this end of the new road bed is just barely landscaped. The crews had just begun clearing the new roadbed through the woods the last time I was here. The roads are now about half finished. What you’ll see is the gravel underlayer and the concrete retaining rails. Eventually the asphalt will be flush with the top of the concrete. This is a way of prevent edge weathering and crumbling.
What I can’t show you is the places where they dug down and planted a massive layer of boulders, the average stone just about the size of my head. I spotted the evidence of such work along the section that used to flood every time it rained. That section is now a good bit higher, but is no longer part of the main path. It simply runs to a planned new fishing/boating point. It also runs past my old friend, the high sandstone bluff (image above left).
The original road exposed the face of a massive sandstone formation, and it remains a favorite spot of mine. I love to climb up and look around. You can just see the lake through the trees. If you move around a bit, you can see across the steep valley from the primary water source, East Elm Creek.
Just east and down from the bluff is the lowest point of the old roadbed; the summer foliage allows a couple of peek-a-boo glimpses of the lake. The crews scraped off the old fractured asphalt layer and left the gravel. There’s a few places where the road simply lay atop bedrock; the bluff is only one, and the tallest, of several such formations.
Here’s a shot that shows that old roadbed alongside the new at the far eastern end of the construction area. No one seemed to mind my being there, though some of the workers stared, I suppose because of my reflective vest was not so different from theirs. I tend to wear that thing whenever I carry my camera. Sometimes the only place I can stand for a shot is too close to the traffic, and with the vest they always give me plenty of room. For example, I stopped to see if that wall of Black-eyed Susans (a type of sunflower around here) was still there on Post Road, but this year a completely different collection of plants grew. The only spray of bright yellow was a different kind of flower.
This was just short of a 30 mile ride for me. I didn’t circle the lake, but just having the energy to get out here and get back was a real blessing. Maybe sometime soon I can try circling the lake, but maybe avoid the construction area.