Our first step was to determine whether the pilings (16′ 6×6 treated posts) I had inserted 25 years ago were still solid. A quick trip to the island with the rowboat seemed to confirm the posts were still solid.
I brought a rope to connect the posts on the island to posts I had installed on the shore as a guide rope, then Jan and Suzie, two friends, towed the swimming raft via the rowboat out to the shore side of the island.
Next, we put together a work party with chain saw, loppers, and shovels to clear the island of vegetation, fill some holes and generally make the island easier to work on. This was no small task and we ended up filling the raft with brush and debris from the island. We used the guide rope to bring the raft back to the shore and unloaded the raft to the tractor bucket for disposal.
We now had the island cleared, the posts accessible, a work platform (raft) which we could pull back and forth to the shore and a design for the deck. Although the island now looked a little forlorn, I wanted to get started. While the weather was still good there was time to get a lot done. Even though walking out on the ice to get to the deck may seem easier than pulling the raft….no one was excited about building a deck in 0 degree temps!