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.... but we need a bigger boat.....

I had posted a few days ago about a weather event that did some damage at the property. I knew we had trees down. Nick had sent me pics but I had no context (i.e. I couldn't tell where the downed trees were). I knew Nick, whose property is about the same size as our property, had ten trees down. I did not know what to expect.

Bryan and Dave agreed they would go up with me to see if we could get the trees cleared from the driveway and the trails so the mowers could, well, mow. We decided to travel up after work on Thursday so we could get up early Friday morning and get going on cutting up trees. Dave left about an hour before Bryan and I, and he arrived around 7:00 PM.

The first text from Dave was comforting..... "You're clear to get to the fire lane". Good news... no damage 1/3 of the way back, and the Bravo trailer was fine. The Bravo trailer is our "portable shed" where we keep many of our supplies including our kayaking gear. This will be offered for future rentals of the property. The fire lane is where we put the camper, as the driveway is still just a bit too rough to take the camper back to the water, and we have a nice turnaround into the second driveway. So, in other words, we have a drive-through camping spot at the fire lane.

Second text came in... "Outhouse and trailer are fine... but we need a bigger boat....".

Well, that one was quite helpful.

Follow-up text..... "What I meant was we're going to need a professional crew I think". Ouch.

We are planning a group trip with spouses in a few weeks. Not good if we have too big of a mess, and if we can't keep the mowers mowing, things start getting out of control and the ticks start to invade our open spaces. In case you don't know this by now...... I hate ticks and the mice that Lyme Disease comes from. The mowing keeps the ticks blown off of the clearings and pathways.

So, Nick had ten trees down. Maybe we have the same. But I learned from the beginning of this adventure that nature is going to throw you some curve balls, and you better get used to rolling with the punches. So I went into this expecting the worst, but happy that it was only what it ended up being. Not that we did not have a mess and not that we don't still have a mess..... it could have been worse.

But the Bravo trailer was safe. The outhouse was safe. The kayaks were safe. The stairs were safe. The innertube that has been sitting at the clearing for five years, dirty but still inflated, was also safe. The rest is just work we have to do.

Down the driveway, past the outhouse, and at the sharp bend going back to the campground was a mess. There were a pair of twin oak trees where one of the two split off and fell right across the driveway. A big solid tree with a diameter of over 3' at the base. The second tree was also an oak, but this one was uprooted, which ended up helping us out in cutting it up. Portions of two or three other trees were tangled in this mess. Where the first oak was just "tree trunk" crossing the driveway, the second was full-on intertwined vegetation.... so much you could not see anything through it.

Yeah, we weren't going to get through this mess.... it was thick.

And if you looked to the right into the woods, it was a tangled mess also with trees and limbs down everywhere. This is really what Dave was referring to. When looked at from that perspective, then yes..... that is a job too big for us, without a doubt. But as bad as that was, my mission was to just get the driveways and trails opened back up. I can't let the forest bring me down right now or I won't be able to muster the gumption I need to just get this part of the damage cleaned up.

We walked back to the outhouse to pick up the trail back to the campground. Dave had cleaned up this trail prior to our arrival, so we were able to get back just to the clearing where a very large pine tree was uprooted and laying across the trail, preventing access to the campground entirely. In fact, Dave had to take the new trail that we built a few months ago, but that is still a pretty rough trail.

So the oaks are a hard wood to cut. The first one has a lot of tension in it, so cutting it has to be done properly. The second one has so much vegetation that needs to be cut out so that will make it hard. The pine, however, should cut fairly easily. Of course, understanding where the loads and lever arms are going directionally is the challenge. Cut the wrong way, and you pinch your chainsaw. Cut the wrong way, you may drop thousands of pounds of weight on you or your extremities. Or on your friends there to help you. Trees on the ground can be just as dangerous as trees you are felling.

It was just a job we needed to do, and I was determined to get after it the next morning which would have been impossible without the help I had from Bryan and Dave.

We had our nightly campfire after setting up the camper for sleeping. A good night with good laughs. We have really built many memories throughout this adventure, and remembering and joking about our excursions is what this is all about...... building memories with family and friends.

Up early the next morning to Brad's breakfast burritos and coffee, and off to start cutting around 8:00 AM.

First was the large oak tree trunk. This tree weighed tons (plural). It was going to be the largest tree I had ever cut. Fortunately for us, we purchased a Stihl Farm Boss chainsaw (50 cc & 20" bar) a few months back to use with our Alaskan saw mill.

My first cut resulted in a pinched chain. I could hear Dave thinking "I told you so". But I can use my second chain saw to relieve the pressure, right? Yeah, I pinched that one also. So I now have my two chain saws pinched in the tree, and while Dave is not saying a word, I know what he is thinking. But we plotted how to get them released using his chain saw, and once we freed the two chain saws we really did not have any other issues.

I won't bore you with details of the cutting up. The three of us had a system down where Dave did much of the cleanup of brush with his chain saw, while Bryan and I cut the larger stuff. We had no choice but to throw the debris off into the woods and roll/stack the logs along the driveway; it was just too much to move. We'll have to deal with that later.

This might just be the hardest work we have ever done at the property. But we were done by noon. A solid four hours of very difficult and strenuous work.

The dip in the water to cool down and rinse off was one of the most refreshing experiences of my life. The water was cold, but it was awesome.

Lunch of BLT's and some cleanup and we were on the road heading for home by 2:30 PM.... not bad for a quick trip up to take care of downed trees.

Lorraine and I had originally planned on heading up Friday and coming back Saturday to do this cleanup work before Bryan and Dave offered to go. This job would have been too large for the two of us. We needed multiple chainsaws running and a system to work through all of this. I always can count on Bryan and Dave to be willing to take a quick trip to help us all out, and I appreciate their help more than they will ever know.

What is really interesting is that on the front two-thirds of the property, there was barely a stick down. But back near the water there was a defined path of damage. Was this a small twister? I don't know. But it really was interesting.


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