SEP 2017 - Pine Mountain and Grove Repair

The July Trail Crew blog included a rare video of a large tree actually falling across the popular trail that leads up to Buzzards Roost and as Trail Crew veterans know trails don't magically maintain themselves, so there the tree stayed, waiting.  


For the September workday we decided to bring out our 27 pound, 42-inch, Husky chainsaw affectionately referred to as Big Bertha for what we were guessing was a 4-5 ft diameter Doug Fir. Big Bertha was a wedding gift from Howard King to his wife Maria. Although we had 11 Crew members and could have split into two groups, we decided to stay together until we had an idea of what it would take to clear the tree from the trail.

Janie with the Big Fir

Janie with the Big Fir

Fortunately it was only about a quarter mile along the trail from the Pine Mtn Fire Rd crossing midway up toward Buzzards Roost, so we didn't have far to carry Big Bertha from the vehicles. On arriving we quickly realized that it would be one of the largest trees the Crew has ever worked on and a challenge as it was laying angled across the trail with one end on an uphill slope and the other downhill.

Despite a history of being temperamental, Big Bertha started and ran well for what would be its longest workday since it was donated to us by the Sempervirens Fund. Chris Young took the first shift on the saw and the expectations were high that the initial difficult cuts would show progress and we could start rolling rounds off to the side. 

Unfortunately with big trees the initial cuts often lead to more work as they wedge against other parts of the tree rather than breaking free. It wasn't until after lunch that we started making significant progress as we took turns on the saw since it was tiring work.

With the tree work looking better, we decided during lunch that the second crew would break off and head over to handle the grove work we had promised the Sempervirens Fund we would complete.

After the trail was cleared we measured the tree diameter and it was a little wider than a McLeod, so about 52-inches across though it seemed a lot bigger when we were working on it!



After leaving the intrepid BIG TREE team we headed back to the shed to pick up a post hole digger and steel bar and headed up Sky Meadow Road to install the new grove sign for Amanda with Sempervirens Fund.


She had given us some very detailed pictures of just where the sign was to be installed so we had no problem locating the new sign.  Amanda even had two stakes, with pink tape, noting where each leg of the sign was to go (as long as we didn’t put the sign in backwards we were good to go!).  We cleared quite a bit of brush and downed material behind where the sign was to go so the view would be unobstructed.  Using a bit of elbow grease we were able to precisely place the aforementioned sign, with the bottom of the sign exactly 18” from the ground, and level vertically & horizontally.

The crew put in 80 hours with a YTD of 1036. Thanks to Norm Beeson, David Bryan, Peter Gelblum, Janie Leifhelm, Curt McLellan, Curt Patrick,  Mike Peasland, Dale Petersen, Mike Rickels, Dale Stadelman and Chris Young, for coming out as we passed the 1,000 hour mark for the year with three months still left.

by Mike and Norm

photos by Peter, Norm, and Michael

editor Jeff