The Skunk River Trail
SRP Fall Service Outing
by Greg Vitale
It was a beautiful fall day- sunny, with blue skies. Travis, Dave, Mark and I met at Rick’s. Chain saws, pry bars, handsaws, axes, ropes and pulleys, as well as boots and waders were loaded on the truck. Rick also thoughtfully loaded up some sodas and other provisions to sustain us. We headed to just downstream of the Forty and Eight Cabin. The cabin is so named after the train cars in Europe that could hold forty soldiers or eight horses used during World War I.
Our goal was to open up the down wood that blocked the channel. The idea was to avoid the vigorous portage that paddlers have been doing the last couple of years. Jim Hansen, the adjacent landowner, was gracious enough to let us on his land and we made sure that our work conformed to his wishes.
We assessed the log jam from the banks before we started the chain saws roaring, so that we all could hear what we were going to do and in what sequence. Otherwise, the roar of the chain saws would have limited our discussions. But, that was not the only reason to talk about what we were going to do next with all of these chain saws and other equipment. Rather, our briefing was inspired by what an experienced forester once said, “ I don’t know anyone whose I.Q. doesn’t fall several points once they get a chainsaw roaring in their hands.”
Later, MC Doug and Lynn joined us in our efforts. A chain saw was wedged and took a concerted effort to free, another had the chain come off, still another couldn’t take the water it was cutting through. Boots were torn, one of the waders leaked a bit too. Through it all, Buzzsaw Travis and his professional equipment kept on and on. He however, no longer is use to this kind of hard work, and would surely feel it later.
With a safe passage cleared on river right and the afternoon sun already feeling cooler in the shadows, wind and cold waters, it was time to head out. Most likely, we will need to do this again in the spring if we want to avoid a portage. Hopefully, it should be easier next time.