Rigging Shack "Classic"
(This column originally appeared in the April 1974 edition of Loggers World.)
Seventy four is slipping away like greased time. By the time I remember to put 1974 at the tops of the letters a third of the year is history.
Have some great personal plans for this year. We are changing our operations so that my wife and I can be gone from the office for greater and greater periods of time, and do more work and more writing and visit more logging operations.
We have our travel trailer. We are getting a newer and better pick-up truck. The plan is to be able to spend more time where logging is happening and less and less time chained to the desk at headquarters.
Our planned way of working will be to locate for a couple of weeks in a particular logging area.
Each night I send in the exposed film to John Fuqua for development. He will also print a contact sheet at that time. Then he will return the contact sheet so that I can choose the possible pictures we will use and write the information that goes with the picture. This information we call “picture captions”.
Each night also I will bring my notes up to date and put this information on cassette tape. Each day that I am out in the woods shooting pictures my wife will be taking the words off the tape and putting them onto paper. This will be the article on that particular logging company or whatever. This will be sent back to the office and Jean Curtis will set it in type and have it for the paper.
So we are in the field taking pictures and doing the writing. Our good people are back at headquarters processing film, setting type, laying up the next paper and taking it to the printer at the proper time.
One of the big ideas behind this way of accomplishing the work is to save the use of gasoline. Another good by-product is that more people will be involved with the creation and appearance of Loggers World. I will have more time for pictures and words and less time spent on what I laughingly call “administrative duties”.
The key to this, as in most of my activities, is that my girlfriend Jean will be there to do the work.
Our mail will be forwarded to us periodically so it can be answered when on the trips.
Due to the gas shortage, we intend to spend much of our time in Canada getting acquainted, and thus acquainting you, with more Canadian loggers and logging. Understand they have no gas shortage.
The only danger about this new and slicker arrangement is that our people will likely find out that I wasn’t doing much around here.
Didn't get a whole lot accomplished today. Went upriver fifty miles to the log dump at Van Dyke. On the way had a flat tire. Since I did not want to journey around too much without a spare, visited this one log dump and some highway logging and returned to camp. Have another spare at camp.
Got here just in time to help my wife keep the whole outfit from blowing away. Yesterday had got busy and, using my vast store of engineering knowledge, put up a ten by twelve tarp as a fly over the table and things. When I got back to camp the wind threatened to pick up this fly and go away with it. I jumped in with ropes and orders, and ran around like I knew what was going on. I fixed it so good that the ridgepole, a ten foot spruce two by four, came down and hit my wife on the side of the head. Bent up her eyeglasses and fetched her an ambitious wallop. Now she is in bed and I don't know whether she'll come out to cook supper or not.
P.S. Besides that, the dog came up lame today too. Now I have to lift her in and out of the pick-up. Had to be the bigger dog of the two, didn't it?
One day discovered that it was Friday morning. We had been gone from the office for two weeks. The crew back at home had in this time got the special "TIMBER CUTTERS" printed and mailed out. They had got the July Loggers World printed and were busy mailing it out. The feeling of urgency had descended upon my being one more time.
I had several thoughts and some plans for the upcoming weekend. As I sat and ate a delicious batch of French toast with bacon on the side (just a normally excellent breakfast that my wife creates on a campfire) I planned the coming day.
At the same time I sort of suspicioned that I was kidding myself. Thoughts kept intruding, thoughts like; "Got to get these 20 plus rolls of film back so that John (darkroom man par excellence) can develop the film and make me contact sheets." And, "Next week is the last week we can get anything done this month". And, "week after next we shall be shut down and the crew will be on vacation."
Even though these thoughts were flitting around I did go out and finish up some details that needed doing. Plans were forming to get in a good day and pack up everything that evening.
By four in the afternoon we were on our way. This means we tore down the camp, loaded the pick-up and trailer, battened down all hatches and tied back the loose ends. We were rolling towards home, which was about 1100 miles off in that direction.
I had been a bit worried about loading the camper back on the pick-up with our barely adequate camper jacks. Camper was on a slope and this compounded the problem. But it went slicker than goose grease on a hot rock.
I hadn't worried about backing the trailer down the chute on the narrow brush lined trial so that we could expedite the loading of a million items of gear, so had a lot of trouble there. The thing is that while backing the trailer with the camper on the pick-up had missed the road (trail?) about two feet to the north. Couldn't go ahead because that was uphill. Had to stop and tear down the tent and do a lot of loading because it was all in the way. Figured that I'd had room enough to come back and get straightened out and come ahead. Better work that way because there was no one, no one at all, available for pulling us out.
One of the things I had built at our camp that was a source of pride and satisfaction to me was our outdoor fireplace. I had hauled some of the rock in that superior fire pit some fifty miles. Unfortunately the trailer bumped into it and scattered rocks and fire more than a little bit. After putting the fire out had to tear down the fireplace and throw the carefully selected rocks into a pile. Then with no further trouble we were out and on our way.
We deliberately wasted time going out. We had about 25 miles to go to the junction and then 52 miles from the junction to Kitwanga, all on private road. Didn't want to meet a flock of those big trucks coming at us on some narrow stretch with us dragging a trailer. Made it to the junction with only one hold up. After progressing about ten miles a four wheel drive pick-up with three young loggers inside passed us. They were in a hurry-going home after a week in the woods. Fifteen miles later we met them parked along the road. Jakubowski Contracting had loaded and shot a wall of rock alongside the road about 10 minutes before we got there. There D-9 Cat came along and soon had a road thru the shot rock for us. While waiting found the three young fellows had their own outfit, logged for Twin Rivers and their logs went to the States
We made the drive slowly and carefully. Got to Kitwanga and then had thirty more miles of county road, most of it worse than the Colcel private road, to get to the Yellowhead Highway and on the blacktop.
On the way up the Yellowhead road, coming in, we had stopped for lunch at a combination motel and restaurant. We had remembered it as not being very far away. After we hit the blacktop and headed east we hungrily watched for this particular motel. We kept driving and it kept getting later and later and after about three hours and over a hundred miles, there it was. They had a vacancy, but the restaurant was closed. Enjoying the luxury of the motel and hot water and bath tub and flushing sanitation system, we enjoyed a belated supper of cheese and crackers from our own stores.
Next morning pushed on, thru Prince George and a rainstorm at 1:00p.m., headed downhill on Highway 97. At Prince George called friends to have lunch with us but no contact.
Wanted to stop and contact Max Searls at Williams Lake. Max logged for years in Washington State out of Toutle. Bought some property in British Columbia, moved his family up there over a year ago and is now working on his place out of Williams Lake. Only thing wrong is that the weather was really rainy, looked like a Pacific Coast rainstorm. Decided that Max wouldn't like company in this weather and pushed on. Got home handily on Sunday afternoon and started unpacking goods. Brought back a lot of B.C. dust and pounds of their special mud.
Fine trip filled with beautiful scenery and meeting lots of good, friendly logging men. Would like to do it all again. And will-sometime.