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Mt St Helens 40 years today


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40 years ago on a Sunday at 8:32 am. Big changes for my family and friends. I have been seeing lots of posts the past few days on different logging forums I belong to. Some of those posts and threads showed photos of our destroyed equipment. Comments about friends and neighbors who were lost, and also our 2 timber fallers that perished at our job site. I think I was depressed today.

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4 minutes ago, tadbart said:

Hard to believe that was half a lifetime ago. Wow.

Sometimes I still miss logging. What we were doing was the end of an era. All we logged (don't go hating on me) was old growth timber. Often of immense size. Big trees, large equipment, challenging and dangerous work, and tough men. 

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5 hours ago, Walt Longmire said:

Sometimes I still miss logging. What we were doing was the end of an era. All we logged (don't go hating on me) was old growth timber. Often of immense size. Big trees, large equipment, challenging and dangerous work, and tough men. 

The old growth you cut probably didn’t hold a candle to that taken out by the eruption. 

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10 hours ago, railfancwb said:

The old growth you cut probably didn’t hold a candle to that taken out by the eruption. 

A lot of the area hit by the eruption had already been logged. I don't know percentages. Then there was also State and Federal land included in addition to the privately owned timber lands. Shortly after the eruption, a large area was made into a Monument that is basically a huge park and is left to nature. It wasn't replanted like the Weyco land. A lot of the Weyco land was replanted with Noble Fir and is being logged again. The equipment and processes they use are much different than what we did in the old growth.

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15 hours ago, Walt Longmire said:

Sometimes I still miss logging. What we were doing was the end of an era. All we logged (don't go hating on me) was old growth timber. Often of immense size. Big trees, large equipment, challenging and dangerous work, and tough men. 

Minnesota had all our Old Growth logged off for building bridges and trestles for the railroad going West.  We had our own RR barons who made a fortune in the business.

I saw some old growth Pines out East at James Town Colony, and I couldn't believe the size of those trees.  They were incredible.  With the size/height, and Pine needle bed under them, damn near nothing was growing between trees.  

Walt could probably tell you the size, I'm sure that if I guess I would grossly exaggerate them.  They were just amazing.

The old mansion I grew up on was built by the owner of one of these old logging companies.  The rafters were 20 foot rough sawn 8" x 8" White Oak on about 2 or 3 foot centers, spanning the eve to the widows walk without any other support under them. 

We had a fire in the attic and the city inspector said the worst damage was a few rafters burned through a few inches so the strength of the roof wasn't impacted at all.

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1 hour ago, janice6 said:

Minnesota had all our Old Growth logged off for building bridges and trestles for the railroad going West.  We had our own RR barons who made a fortune in the business.

I saw some old growth Pines out East at James Town Colony, and I couldn't believe the size of those trees.  They were incredible.  With the size/height, and Pine needle bed under them, damn near nothing was growing between trees.  

Walt could probably tell you the size, I'm sure that if I guess I would grossly exaggerate them.  They were just amazing.

The old mansion I grew up on was built by the owner of one of these old logging companies.  The rafters were 20 foot rough sawn 8" x 8" White Oak on about 2 or 3 foot centers, spanning the eve to the widows walk without any other support under them. 

We had a fire in the attic and the city inspector said the worst damage was a few rafters burned through a few inches so the strength of the roof wasn't impacted at all.

I have logged many trees that were 12' diameter and more. Up to 17' sometimes. The cedar on the coast wasn't real tall although the Spruce there was very tall. Hundreds of feet. When my dad was still logging with a wood spar and a sled donkey (yarder) he usually used the Spruce for his spar trees. Used to go up when I was a kid and watch those guys climb and top those spars. Also on the coast there was undergrowth in the forest but no so much as in the areas that had been logged. Moving inland to when we logged around St Helens, the Douglas Fir was huge in diameter and also very tall. Almost nothing grew on the forest floor there. Once logged, it burst to life with all kinds of critters. I lived in a small town in the Willipa Hills during that time. That area had been logged for the first time 40 or more years ago, and not replanted. (logged in the 30's and 40's) It grew up to a wide variety of species. I loved hunting there in these varied forests above the fertile farm fields of the Wildwood Valley. All manner of animals and birds lived in that area. As it was logged for the second time, it was planted to a generic forest of mostly Doug Fir. I hated to see the difference between the generic forest and the one it replaced.

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Growing up on the coast, the area where we lived had the old growth logged off many years before. The second growth forest there had the old stumps from those huge cedars as a testament to what was there before us. Tall stumps, often hollow, with spring board notches that made handy steps for us kids to climb them. The trees had been hand felled with misery whips and axes. It was an awesome playground for endless miles. Much of it has now been logged again.

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We had a plant in Longview that I had to visit routinely. When everything opened back up , I visited the plant and took a little side trip to look see. Whatever road I was on  looked normal for miles. Then you would see a tree down here and there. Then a few trees down. Then more and more trees down the closer you got.

Finally every freakin’ tree is blown down and you were still miles away from the mountain. The last miles just looked like what I imagine the moon surface looks like; nothing standing and grey ash covering everything.

I was suitably impressed with the capacity of Mother Earth to raise hell.

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1 hour ago, willie-pete said:

We had a plant in Longview that I had to visit routinely. When everything opened back up , I visited the plant and took a little side trip to look see. Whatever road I was on  looked normal for miles. Then you would see a tree down here and there. Then a few trees down. Then more and more trees down the closer you got.

Finally every freakin’ tree is blown down and you were still miles away from the mountain. The last miles just looked like what I imagine the moon surface looks like; nothing standing and grey ash covering everything.

I was suitably impressed with the capacity of Mother Earth to raise hell.

You could have been driving up the Spirit Lake Hwy, but there are plenty of other roads to get access up towards the mountain. The SLH will take you right up to the Visitor Center where you can look right into the crater. If you turn around and put the crater to your back and look at the saddle in the mountains away from the mountain, we were logging on the back side of that saddle. We were dead center in the blast area, 4 miles out.

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I don't remember the road. I asked my PM to let me know when I could travel up there. When he called, I scheduled a trip.

 

Later on I went again after the Visitor's Center was up and running.

 

Just freakin' amazing how much power was expended when it blew - one helluva blowjob.

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1n 1980 both my brothers were living in eastern Washington when the volcano erupted. Prevailing winds blew East and there was almost as much volcanic ash in eastern Washington as there was in close proximity to the volcano., at least an inch the first couple of days. My youngest brother had my dad's 1975 pinto which had low miles and was in good condition but he had the air cleaner off for some reason and without an air cleaner the ash totally trashed the engine and after about a week it started burning oil really bad.

 

3ash.jpg

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9 hours ago, Walt Longmire said:

Growing up on the coast, the area where we lived had the old growth logged off many years before. The second growth forest there had the old stumps from those huge cedars as a testament to what was there before us. Tall stumps, often hollow, with spring board notches that made handy steps for us kids to climb them. The trees had been hand felled with misery whips and axes. It was an awesome playground for endless miles. Much of it has now been logged again.

I can't imagine the back breaking effort sawing/cutting with an Axe, all day on one of those huge trees.  God, those logger must have developed muscles on muscles to do that all day long and day after day!

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9 hours ago, Walt Longmire said:

I have logged many trees that were 12' diameter and more. Up to 17' sometimes. The cedar on the coast wasn't real tall although the Spruce there was very tall. Hundreds of feet. When my dad was still logging with a wood spar and a sled donkey (yarder) he usually used the Spruce for his spar trees. Used to go up when I was a kid and watch those guys climb and top those spars. Also on the coast there was undergrowth in the forest but no so much as in the areas that had been logged. Moving inland to when we logged around St Helens, the Douglas Fir was huge in diameter and also very tall. Almost nothing grew on the forest floor there. Once logged, it burst to life with all kinds of critters. I lived in a small town in the Willipa Hills during that time. That area had been logged for the first time 40 or more years ago, and not replanted. (logged in the 30's and 40's) It grew up to a wide variety of species. I loved hunting there in these varied forests above the fertile farm fields of the Wildwood Valley. All manner of animals and birds lived in that area. As it was logged for the second time, it was planted to a generic forest of mostly Doug Fir. I hated to see the difference between the generic forest and the one it replaced.

For the most part, after all the old growth trees were taken from the Northern half of Minnesota, all there is now are pulp wood.  You have to get to the Chippewa National Forrest to get back into decent trees.

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5 hours ago, willie-pete said:

I don't remember the road. I asked my PM to let me know when I could travel up there. When he called, I scheduled a trip.

 

Later on I went again after the Visitor's Center was up and running.

 

Just freakin' amazing how much power was expended when it blew - one helluva blowjob.

And it is one of a considerable number in the world.

I have to laugh when I hear people say that we will control/change the environment, then watch a typical Volcanic display!

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29 minutes ago, janice6 said:

I can't imagine the back breaking effort sawing/cutting with an Axe, all day on one of those huge trees.  God, those logger must have developed muscles on muscles to do that all day long and day after day!

My dad started out falling with his dad when he was 14. On a misery whip, chopping the undercut with an ax. He'll be 94 in September and still tough as nails.

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51 minutes ago, Walt Longmire said:

My dad started out falling with his dad when he was 14. On a misery whip, chopping the undercut with an ax. He'll be 94 in September and still tough as nails.

I feel the same way about my Grandfather on my Mother's side.  When I was very little, he used to take me with him on the job for 2 weeks each Summer.  He was a one man Well Drilling Company, working in the Minnesota River Valley Bluffs area of Southern Minnesota.  He taught me many things while I was with him on the job.  He never got tired of my questions and he treated me damn near as an equal.

He worked hard his whole life and finally retired in his 70's.  That lasted a year or two but he couldn't just sit around after working his whole life.  So he lied about his age and got a job digging ditches in the city.  It was all Bluffs so he had hard but good work.  Like your family, he was used to hard work.  He taught me where the Rattlesnakes lived in the Bluffs.

One time he said he got buried alive in a cave in.  He was really calm about it and told me in great detail what it was like.  He said he could hear the guys digging for him so he knew it was only a matter of a short time.  He said this wasn't the first time he got buried, so when the dirt started coming in on him, he hunched over to make a void under his chest so he had a way to breath enough to survive for a short while.

Then he was worried they would find out how old he was when they insisted the hospital checked him out afterwards.  They didn't, and he went back to digging for a living.  He passed when he was around 100 Years old.  To this day I believe he was the kindest, toughest, man I ever knew.  I can't tell you how much I respected the man.

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