Clearing Another Windfall

By , May 9, 2012

Ever since a late winter wind storm, we have passed back and forth under half-fallen trees hanging over a section of our trail. Two trees growing side by side, with their root wads entwined, leaned past 45°, but failed to fall when they hung up in branches of trees on the other side of the trail.

Each time we passed under them, we eyed the trees, and, if traveling together, often commented on them. Michelle felt they might fall any time; I assured her that they would probably still be hanging over the trail long after we were gone.

Very early Thursday morning a southerly gale blew up. We heard the wind generator roaring in the night. In the morning, 8 foot swells slammed into our beach rocks, while a cold, hard rain fell. I felt sorry for Michelle as she bundled up and left to hike to the road to get to work, and blessed my luck to have a work-at-home contract that would keep me inside, conveniently near the woodstove, drinking hot drinks and admiring the wild weather from the comfy side of the picture window.

A short time later, Michelle called with the news: the trees had fallen.

wind fall trees

The root wad and two trunks of the newest windfall across the trail (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

Only the larger one had crossed the trail. The shorter one didn’t reach it. This didn’t create a huge problem, as she said she could step over the tree blocking the trail. But, with a pretty big hauling session coming up this week, and Michelle’s mother planning to brave the hike out on her and Dad’s upcoming visit, something had to be done.

I put it off until the rain eased off, then I climbed the ridge with a bow saw, limbing ax, and peavy. For 3 hours I sawed and hacked at the big tree, cutting a long section out of it where it crossed the trail, sectioning that into moveable sections, and trimming the ends that encroached on the trail’s edges. The bole wasn’t very large, but the pressure of the tree laying on the ground caused the saw blade to bind frequently.

As I worked, the rain returned with a vengeance as a squall closed in. Shortly after it passed, the sky cleared completely overhead, but the trees continued to rain down showers of droplets that sparkled in the sunlight.

When I’d finished, the trail had returned to its normal level of navigability, and I returned home to dry off.

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