Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week 4 - More Trees, Fisticuffs and Flying Kayaks

Week 4 is done and Whew!!!! What a week. The weather has been perfect; morning temps in the 40's with highs just above 70; not a drop of rain for 15 days in a row - a record for consecutive days without rain in May for the Portland area. With the weather improving and Memorial Day holiday around the corner there is a real push to get as many campgrounds open as possible. There are still several that are in higher elevations with snow blocking the roads to the parks. And there are many with hazard trees that have to be removed before campers will be allowed in.

Sunday was our day off but we got a call from the camphost at the CG across the street...."Was the site manager around?" (site manager = our boss). He wasn't and I asked if I could help. "No, just wanted to let him know I've told two campers they must leave. Father and son camping together were just standing in the street in front of my RV throwing punches." I decided I would drive over anyway just as a precaution until the campers left. Who says you can't find quality entertainment camping in the woods. This was better than Jerry Springer. 

Joan and I worked felling and bucking trees 4 of our 5 workdays this week. On Wednesday a professional came in to take down 12 trees that were either too large or too precariously located for our company to risk a miscalculation. The largest saw we have has a 48" blade; some of the hazard trees measured in excess of 60" in diameter. 

Thursday night we got a call to meet the Maintenance Supervisor at one of the remote CGs to help him fell trees. What we didn't know until we got there was the number of trees........52. Yep, Mel, Joan and I were asked to sweep through the CG and fell 52 trees; anywhere from 4" - 33" in diameter; many of them well over 100' tall. We worked all day and managed to get them all. However there was a small took us 4 chainsaws to get the job done. The first chainsaw to go was mine. I had notched the tree and was attempting to cut and wedge it to force it a certain direction. But the tree had other ideas and promptly leaned back onto my blade. Mel and I checked the tree looking for options and began an attempt to drop the tree while freeing the chainsaw. Again the tree had other ideas.....and when it fell it took the saw with it. In fact it dropped the saw and then decided to jump directly on top of it. Final result; cheaper to buy a new one than replace the broken parts on the damaged one. Later we had several large trees completely surrounded by tall trees leaving us no clear path to drop them. 4 trees in a row fell into other trees rather than falling to the ground. During our attempt to clear these leaners one of them grabbed another chainsaw we were using and bent the blade. Our largest saw just got too tired and wouldn't start. We finished the day using a small 22" saw.

During lunch the 'Queen' assumed her throne for a little break

Finally Saturday rolled around....the day of the 2012 White Water Fest. Over 3,000 attendees were descending upon a small stretch of the Clackamas River separating 2 of the CGs we manage. What a blast. Lots of drift boats, various types of rafts and of course kayaks. We had noticed a crew working on building what we thought was a staircase down the bank to the river. Must be for the judges to get right down on top of the action when everyone is going through the course. Earlier in the day we bumped into one of the race starters near the loading area. "Make sure you're down at the gates at 3 o'clock. That's when they do the 'Big Air'." That's no staircase, that's a ramp for the kayaks to see how high they can jump. Did you know kayaks can fly? Believe me, they can!

That's it for this week. Stay Tuned. More to Follow.


  1. Wow, you have become lumberjacks! Crazy. Now that's what I call hard work. 52 trees??? One day? You must be in really good shape!

    Love reading your adventures.


  2. Not sure I would want to kayak jump! Dan would though! You guys are working hard!

  3. Ya learn something new everyday...who knew kayaks could fly!! Sounds like alot of hard work, but alot of fun.

  4. Looks like you are working hard and having a great time. I think Amazon would be a piece of cake. Love the picture of Joan on her throne!

  5. Timberrrrrrrrr! What dangerous and hard work. Who knows what exciting adventures await you around the next corner! Be careful and have fun (be sure to keepyour kayak afloat and not airborn).