This photo of a puncheon was taken yesterday less than a mile from the Len Foote Hike Inn. The crew installing it — and many others — was fearlessly led by Richard Wannall who told me that the correct terminology for a wooden creation designed to transport hikers mudlessly over boggy areas is called a puncheon. The stout 6×6 bottom pieces supporting the treadway are sills, and the 2×6 horizontal walkway pieces are called stringers. Being in a feisty state of mind, I argued that I thought they should be called bog logs, the term I’ve heard used in New England. Richard replied that if I did not keep my mouth shut (always a struggle for me) he would soon be “Puncheon Judy,” thereby creating perhaps the worst pun ever uttered on the Hike Inn Trail, if not planet earth. Regardless, the puncheons are installed and many a trail runner will be spared a coating of black mud in future years. If you have not been hiking this year, get out there. (Photo by Roy Stallings, all rights reserved).
2 thoughts on “Puncheons, Bog Logs, Sills and Stringers”
Seems to me I heard the term “corduroy” used up in Maine to describe the way the logs were laid in the wet areas. Not the same engineering involved as this fine muck crossing, but it was descriptive of how they looked.
Rick, I love your memory of those days. I have an old photo of corduroy in my slide presentation about thru-hiking. We talked about the term “corduroy” as we were working over the past couple of days. I made note that in the year you and I walked the trail, there was so much water and mud that the corduroy tended to sink into the mud and slime when you stepped on it. The result was that lots of glop came right in over one’s boot tops. Yuck! We were wondering if for (heart) du (of the) roy (king) may have been a French term. If so, how does “heart of the king” describe a crude system of laying logs side by side to permit one to cross a muddy area?