Saws, Trees, Pollen, and Mules

It was a fantastic long weekend of saws, trees, pollen, and mules, although not necessarily in that order. The pollen was relentless, coating everyone and everything. 

My experience with the crosscut saws this weekend was great, as it was the refresher training and certification test to use the saws in the forest. I sure do love those saws, listening to them sing as a team clears deadfall from the trail.

It doesn’t hurt that the office views look like this.

Jack Lake reflecting Three Fingered Jack, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.

We cleared a few simple trees around Jack Lake as we continued up trail. Then we ran into a very dangerous situation right over the junction of three trails. Although this was our test, the professionals handled it while we served as swampers, clearing the area and making sure everything was safe.

Once that mess was cleared and we had lunch, we didn’t get but a hundred yards up the Wasco Lake Trail before we hit another mess right at the snow line.

You can’t see the patch of snow on the other side of those trees, which is the direction from which we hiked in. The continuous snow was right behind me.

The same vantage point a couple of hours later, with two awesome folks also working for certification. 

We ran out of day to get up to Wasco Lake. I wanted to see it again, from a different viewpoint. The last time Goddess and I saw it was from the PCT, which runs right above the lake. This is what we saw that October evening as the sun set behind us and the blue and purple shadows covered Black Butte and the valley beyond.

Certification was a success.

On Saturday night, one of the great local breweries provided interest-appropriate beverage for the volunteers. Needless to say, their support was appreciated. 

Perhaps one of the most intriguing classes I attended covered dealing with stock animals. I needed the class as I will be working on a few different work crews this summer where we need their support to get deep into the backcountry with enough tools and food to make our stay there possible.

These three mules were great to work with as we learned how to approach, handle, and load them for a hike. Their unique personalities made for some interesting moments.

Soon after, we were on the road south. Time for more advetures!

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