The November workday was the first chilly morning of the fall so we gathered in the HQ office rather than out front and at 9:15 it looked like it would be a small turnout with only four people catching up and discussing the day. But then people started arriving and the last person catching up with us at the tool shed around 9:30. The crew was 10, which included two newcomers, so not too bad since several of regulars had said they wouldn't be able to make it.
There were reports of issues on three trails that we wanted to cover, Howard King, Buzzard Roost and Creeping Forest, and with several people needing to leave early we decided to split into three groups.
Chris’ Crew works on Hihn Hammond
John Martin, John Collins, Devdutt, and myself drove up Hihn Hammond road to clear a Doug Fir reported down on Howard King trail below the ridge line. We found the water bars on Hihn Hammond had been touched up recently and there was a bit of white knuckling to ease the Crosstrek over them. Otherwise the drive up went smoothly. We found a Madrone down near the junction but ducked under and saved it for the return trip.
Shortly afterwards a small Tan Oak blocked the trail and we started up the saw (after John Martin reminded me to switch the saw to 'on'...gah). That cleared we continued down until we found the Doug Fir. It was 36" in diameter.
I started off by nicking my thumb with a hand saw, so John Collins started the saw work while I put on a band aid. We worked carefully, using wedges to try to avoid binding the saw and we were reminded that big logs are full of surprises. As John made the first cut, the top half moved a bit to one side and then tree fractured lengthwise at the point we were cutting, moving the trunk in two directions. It took some careful cutting and consideration but we finally got the first piece free. We finished one more section to make a pass through and then broke for lunch around 1pm.
A little saw maintenance to clear the oiler and then we went back at it. The 24" bar was just enough to get the job done.
We finished up at 2pm and then headed back up to clear the bottom half of the madrone that fell. We were back in the car by 2:45 and then we headed back at the tool shed. Mission accomplished and well assisted by all on the team.
Jan’s Crew head to Buzzard’s Roost “Women with Hand Saws”.
Catch phrase for the next progressive political movement?
Old-time country band?
Horror film working title?
Our BBVTC crew, “Women with Hand Saws”, worked our way up to Buzzard’s Roost and tackled numerous overhead entanglements, downed knobcone pines, and tan oaks on a smokey day that made us grateful our dry forest is still green. Janie, Janette and Jan welcomed Emily and Alicia as we cleared trees from two to eight inches diameter at numerous spots along the trail.
We lunched with our backs to the weathered sandstone of Buzzard’s Roost. Janie and Jan left the peak first carrying both of the larger hand saws. They cut more overhead obstacles as they hiked down. Janette, Emily and Alicia deserve our thanks for clearing and finishing that work.
Mike’s Crew work on Creeping Forest
After deciding who was going where and who needed to leave early, the Creeping Forest crew ended up being the smallest with only David Bryan and Mike Peasland. We began our day by joining the Buzzards Roost group so we could check on a problem near Pine Mtn Fire Rd while they headed up the hill looking for problems near the top.
Our stop was on the Pine Mountain Trail just up from the fire road, but the report was confusing with one part referencing a 2.5' tan oak and another part saying 2.5 - 3 inches, so we weren't sure what we were looking for. It turned out to be a tan oak a couple of inches in diameter and about 6-feet above the trail, but it needed to be removed and we made relatively quick work of it.
The Creeping Forest report said it was a two foot Doug fir that was completely blocking the trail and from an accompanying photo it looked to be a small two footer, but when we arrived it looked a lot bigger and was around 30-inches in diameter. David began cutting and as is often the case completing and removing the first round was the most difficult because every time we tried to remove the round it would bind on something so it was back to more cutting. After lunch things went more smoothly, but the key learning from the stop was don't send two old guys out to work on a tree by themselves!
After clearing the tree, we decided to complete the loop by hiking the remainder of Creeping Forest and then down Dool Trail clearing small trees.
On Creeping Forest we found one that had been blocking the trail long enough for a well worn walk around was developed. We removed the offending tree and brushed over the reroute so hopefully hikers will stick with the designated trail.
The crew put in 85 hours and thanks to David Bryan, John Collins, Jan Hill, Janie Leifhelm, Janette Mello, Mike Peasland, Devdutt Sheth, Chris Young, and two newcomers, Alicia Clark and Emily Lewis.
by Chris Y., Jan, Mike, and Jeff
photos by Chris Y., Jan, and Mike