My favorite summer as a kid...
Would have to be 1959. I was 11 years old that summer. I got to work in the logs with my grandpa Pete Shumway. We had 30,000 board feet of dry lodge pole pine permitted from the forest service at a place called Labarge Meadows, between Afton and Labarge, Wyoming. I learned how to fell trees, limb and log'em using a story pole. But best of all, I got to do most of the dragging. Grandpa preferred to do most of the felling, as it is most dangerous. I got to use (my choice) either a Cat model 22 tractor, or one of two work horses. "Becky" was the smaller of the two, and had a heart as big as Wyoming. She didn't know the meaning of "quit". "Ted" was a mean old stubborn red beast who would just as soon kick you as look at you. Grandpa named him after my dad, actually. Ted was much bigger and stronger than Becky, so on big logs, i would use him if it was too steep for the 22, and it usually was.
Up at 4:30 and breakfast and coffee. Fetch the hobbled horses. Grandpa would sharpen the saw's and single bits while i curried the horses. He would harness Ted while I did Becky. On with the harness, do up the haynes, belly strap and cooper. Rig the reins and rig up double chains on single tree... Then up to the trees about 5:30 or six. It is still pretty dark at that time of morning even in summer... when you are surrounded by 4000 meter mountains on all sides.
Grandpa would fell the first three trees and once clear i would start limbing using a kant hook and single bit axe. Only destroyed 1 shoe the whole summer, which is pretty good. Grandpa would finish cutting another 12 trees or so, then he would come back and start logging. I ran the "numbing stick" ... basically a pole 10 feet long with notches at foot long intervals. Grandpa would look at the limbed tree and yell, "Give me a 16, a 10 and an 8!", and with the numbin'stick in the left hand and an axe in the right, i would chop a "v" , marking his cut, being very careful to always add at least 8 inches. Saw mills will screw you royally if your length is even close to standard board lengths.
We never stopped for lunch. A habit that I can't break to this day. If you are working hard, you have no appetite. Strange but true. Then came the fun part. Skidding the logs down to the trucks where we usually built a flat spot on a rather steep slope. Then you drag the logs into place on the up hill slope and using Kant hooks and poles, you lever the logs onto the truck. When we had both trucks loaded, we would unharness the horses, hobble them and turn them loose for the night. They would make their way down into Labarge meadows and enjoy the good grass and mountain stream water. Grandpa would drive the old blue Gimmy 2 ton and I got the brand new green chevy. Twenty miles over the top of Commissary Ridge at 11,000 ft. and down to Afton. All dirt road and mostly in granny and over... some in second and under. Six to seven ton per load and as grandpa would put it... "A pretty damned good jag today, Bunga!"... he called me that for the size of my ears, i think.
Unload at either Schwabs or Gardner brothers mill, get our tally and pay. Fill em with gas, drop off the payments to any and all and leave any extra with grandma out in Osmond. She would usually have a nice supper fixed for us. A quicky shower or bath. Then back up the canyon, over the divide, and into camp about 9 PM. A little chat about the old days when grandpa ran his team's of freight between Afton and Montpelier Idaho, or about the CCC camps and supplying them with food and supplys. Or building the very road we used for logging. Grandpa and several Afton men were pretty much responsible for building it at the end of WW I. Then to sleep and up the next day. Six days a week, but on sunday, we went to church.
Enough of that... It was fun... Now to the trivia questions.
1 - Which can out pull the other? A Caterpiller 22 tractor or 2 Work horses? I lost a dollar bet to grandpa on this one.
2 - Which part of a work harness is most unpleasant to connect? And Why?
View the 22 Cat at this sight...