Collecting my own carving wood has always appealed to me. There is something about being in the great outdoors communing with nature, and getting free wood!
Any nimrod can order a block of wood and have it delivered to their doorstep.
So one fall day, I obtained a cutting permit at the ranger station; it came with a complimentary lecture on safety and logging trucks. If you have never met a logging truck on a one-lane road, you haven’t experienced all life has to offer.
It was a scenic drive up a steep mountainside on a logging road full of switchbacks. As I neared the mountain top, I spotted a huge red cedar log about a hundred yards above the road. This was a good deal for me; it is much easier to bring wood down a steep hill then to pack it up. I parked below the log and grabbed all the gear I needed on the hill.
The log turned out to be five feet in diameter with straight grain and solid wood. According to my permit, the cedar had to be cut less than 18 inches in length. I cut around the entire log leaving only a small center section attached. This would hold the 16 inch slab off the ground while I split the pie shaped wedges with the axe.
Just as I prepared to make my first wedge, I heard a loud pop and the giant cedar round dropped to the ground. It paused just a moment before starting it’s descent down the mountain side. I watched helplessly as the half-ton wooden wheel picked up speed.
It’s amazing the thoughts that cross your mind at moments like these;
Will the log stop before it reaches the road?
If it crosses the road and continues down the valley, how far will it travel?
Will my old truck still run once it has been hit by a runaway log?
I didn’t expect to have all three questions answered so quickly; the log hit the road doing about forty miles per hour. I was in luck, when the wooden round left the ditch; it went air-borne and crossed the road five feet off the ground. Unfortunately, the cab on my truck used to stand five feet, three inches tall.
The log continued down the mountain and crossed the road nine times before it crashed into the river. Wiser and a bit more cautious, I filled my truck with cedar.
Just before dark, I was back at the ranger station.
The ranger inspected my wood and then looking at the curious "tire-track" across the cab, he said; “I warned you about those logging trucks”