Monday, December 17, 2007

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

This great story appeared in the December issue of the Vermont Society of Land Surveyors The Cornerpost. Thanks to VSLS for allowing us to share.

Survey Dick Bohlen, L.S. #7, Retired

We were running line on the Kittridge Hills, north of the Walden Mountain road. We were using compass and tape procedure, meaning that we were taking compass bearings, and measuring distance with a 200 foot steel tape. There were the 2 of us, and my faithful black Lab., Tippy. We named him "Tippy" because he had white feet, and a white tip of his tail.

John Nagle was working with me, and the procedure was that I went ahead pulling the tape and clearing the line with a machette. I would go out for as far as the growth would allow, and establish a foreward point. John would then take a magnetic bearing to the point, and we would tape the distance with John calling out the numbers. We were following a blazed line and making pretty good progress when we were stopped by a beaver dam. John joined me at the foreward point, and we discussed a battle plan. We could see the blazes on dead trees in the water, and could see where the line was on the far shore, about 150 feet away. There were "blowdowns " in the water, and the water appeared to be about 5 to 6 feet deep. No way to get across without a boat. The option would be to run line around the pond, and then compute the distance across. Not very good procedure, and not very accurate. Sure would like to measure across that pond !

I think that we both looked for Tippy at the same time, and then came up with the battle plan. We tied the leather tong at the end of the tape to his collar...John held him and talked to him with kind and soothing words, and I made my way around the pond to where the line emerged. One excited call from his master, and John's release of the collar put Tippy into the water with a great lunge. The water, the blowdowns, the pond growth, the tree limbs and nothing else could deter that mighty swimmer from the shortest path to his Master. We had our tape across, the distance measured, and Tippy earned his pay that day.