Thursday, May 28, 2009

Skid Row

One of our good friends here is a logger.



He's the manly, rugged, old-school kind of logger that uses Clydesdales to pull the logs once he's felled them.


His method of logging is extremely low-impact. After he finishes his logging, he goes back over the skid row trail with a pick-axe, creating places for the water (and melting snow) to run so that it doesn't take over the fresh trail and create a river or wider trail of its own. And within thirty days, grass is growing in the trail and the impact is minimal.


Quite unlike the huge logging operations that create permanent roads with their machinery.


And we happen to think his machinery is absolutely magnificent:



Pat and Bonnie were from different teams originally, but Pat was on the right in his old team and Bonnie was on the left in her old team. They work very well together.



They are hitched up to a harness that is then hitched to a log. The logs can be heavy or light (depending on if the tree was alive or dead), and there is always an element of danger. The horses could get spooked and take off, the log could break free, the logger could get entangled in the line. Before he begins skidding, the logger sets up a line of logs along the downhill side of the trail. This ensures that the log that is being dragged doesn't get caught on a tree or pull the horses downhill.


The work is grueling.






And the logger? He runs along behind them, holding the reins and yelling out instructions, like, "Cross-over" (letting them know he is crossing from one side to the other behind them) and the most important of directions, "BREAK!"



Regular breaks are given (2-4 times per log on this trail). The horses and the logger use this time to catch their breaths.


We used this time to ask questions and love on the horses.





Our friend is a wellspring of knowledge of all things related to nature. He even told us that the line separating the fields in the background of these pictures is a direct result of animal grazing -- grazed fields are greener. The "line" is the fence.





And he's one of the best storytellers I've met. We enjoyed hearing about his early days of logging, and how the establishment of trust was the most important factor determining his success with his team.





The day left quite an impression on Benjamin (7):


(This is Bonnie, which any observant person can tell from the docked tail . . . )

1 comment:

  1. This was a wonderful field trip. Now I'm jealous. Not really, but I would like to have such a cool learning experience.



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