The young man looked every inch a logger as he walked down the hill towards the huge towering Macrocarpa tree. His chainsaw was nonchalantly hanging from his fingers, the hard hat was tucked under his arm. Across his shoulders he had draped his special chain-saw proof leggings to stop him sawing his legs off, and he carried various lengths of strapping. He was off to do battle with the tree. “How long will it take to fell a big tree like that?”, we asked. “About half an hour”, was the reply. We were getting ready to pack up the caravans and leave, but this looked interesting. Perhaps we’ll stay a bit longer and watch. Other residents of the motor camp had the same idea, so a group of us were spread along the fence line, looking at the action taking place down in the valley.
The logger climbed up the tree and the whine of the chain-saw drifted up the hill as he started lopping off the lower branches. Then he cut a piece out of the huge trunk. Bang, bang, bang, he hammered a series of wedges into the cut. After a walk around to inspect the handiwork this process was repeated again. Still nothing happening. More sawing and more banging took place. This tree wasn’t budging. The boss trundled slowly down the hill in his light truck and then the pair of them looped a strap around the tree trunk and fastened it securely to the back of the truck. Aha, we thought, this will do it. The ground down there was quite soft and we could just imagine the wheels spinning as the boss put his foot down and jerked the strap tight. That certainly made the branches shake, but the tree stood firm. Again and again they tried, but to no avail.
Then it was onto Plan B. The boss went back to his workshop and returned with a chain winch. We watched as it was looped around the trunk, attached to the winch and the winch attached to a handy tree stump, then slowly tightened up. Robin had his camera ready to snap the tree as it toppled over. We waited, and we waited. “That’s hard work”, Geoff commented, as the strap was slowly wound tighter. “It will be dangerous if it snaps”. Inch by inch the ratchet pulled the strap ever tighter. Then we heard the loud crack as one of the strops snapped with the strain, and flew through the air. Luckily no one was struck by the flying missile.
After all this everyone drifted away. It was obvious that it was going to be a long drawn out job. So when we left the campground for home the score was tree one – chainsaw nil. No doubt the young logger will get his revenge and the tree will just be a pile of firewood when we next return to this camp.