Friday, April 22, 2016

Tree Work...and Ultrarunning

NOTE: I guess Wednesday's post was a bit prophetic, coming as it did a day prior to the death of Prince.  He was truly a musical force and will be missed.

Now...on to today's post.  I did some blowdown removal along my section of the Appalachian Trail on Thursday.  The work just about kicked my butt: I was really whupped at the end of the day.  Tree count was about 7 trees on the ground across the trail, and another 3 leaning but not yet down.

This particular tangle involved the 4 trees you can see plus another out of sight below.  Thank goodness none exceeded about 12" in diameter.  This was a pretty straightforward cutting job.

[image credits Gary]

On the other hand, the blowdown pictured above was a bugger due to its sheer size, a dead oak some 28"-30" in diameter.  I thought carefully through the job and elected to make 2 cuts approx 4' apart (the width of the trail), then I'd roll the cut section away.

No dice.  While I was able to make the huge twin cuts without any issues (such as pinching my saw), when the log dropped I still had a pair of issues.  First, the log was simply far too big for me to muscle.  Plus it was kinda wedged or slotted between the standing tree on the left, the rocks on the trail, and the remaining unmovable ends of the downed tree.

The only solution was to make 2 more through cuts to render the big log into 3 smaller pieces that I could handle.

The connection to Ultrarunning, is of course, that trails do not maintain themselves.  It takes a legion of volunteers to construct and maintain the backcountry paths that we enjoy so much.

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