Reflections

Chainsaw Day Recap

To begin with, my deepest apologies for the lack of photos in my posts! We all know what sells newspapers, and it ain’t the words. I had planned to document this weekend, but my phone died.  So, hopefully one of the other staff will have some good eye candy to attach to this post.

Last weekend, we headed up to Curt Gowdy State Park to do some felling.  For most of us, it was a chance to shake off some of the dust and get reacquainted with a powerful but dangerous tool.

The weekend began with Crew Leaders heading up on Saturday for a day of camaraderie and team building.  We did some biking, hiking, and cooked a delicious meal together.  We endured some chilly winds (gusts of up to 45mph) and took the chance to get to know one another much better. My mom always said I am a good judge of character, so let me tell you prospective crew members out there – there’s not a bad apple in the bunch. ; ) I really am proud to call these folks my co-workers.  They’re kindhearted, smart, funny, and have amazing work ethics.  No matter whose crew you are paired with, you will have a fun summer, learn a lot, and grow immensely as a person.

On Sunday, Evan and Patrick met up with us and we got to work on our saw project. Mostly, we were felling pine-beetle killed trees that had potential to fall on trails and injure recreationalists.  Gowdy is a popular park, and there’s a good amount of pine-beetle kill, so this made our job feel necessary and important – keeping hikers and bikers safe.

Everyone did a great job bucking and limbing.  We reviewed several different binds and their sources of tension and compression.  No pinched bars as far as I know! Some great felling, too.  Face cuts were looking sharp and eyes were up as back cuts were put in.  Safety first, of course, and I have to say, I felt very comfortable around everyone when they were operating saws.

As always, not everything goes according to plan.  Elise and I had a decent sized tree (12 inch dbh) sit back on us. I was putting in a plunge cut on the backing side, and the saw nicked the wedge and sent it flying.  Just at that moment, a slight breeze coaxed the tree backwards.  Fortunately, we were able to clear the new line and drop the tree where it wanted to go. I think Christian’s backpack was the only casualty.  This just goes to show you the zen of the sawyer. Let the tree go where it wants to go.  If you have people spaced out far enough away from you, things should be safe.

Elise finished the day by perfectly felling another good-sized tree right were we wanted it.  Redemption (or maybe just proof that I need to stay away from her backcuts and let her do the job right on her own).

We rehabbed the saws and returned to Laramie tired but with a sense of accomplishment.  I even got sunburned…in March!

I think I speak for us all when I say that I am excited for crew member selection and orientation.  Soon enough, we will all be together at Camp Jack, learning and getting to know each other.

Until then, keep your bar nuts tight and your escape routes clean,

Ryan

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