Friday, September 28, 2012

The tree that almost hit the bridge...

        Nancy's Note: If you haven't read the previous post written on September 27, please scroll back and read it before you read this one.

As I walked into Wildwood on Wednesday afternoon, September 26, I began hearing the noise of a chainsaw. "I wonder what's up - or maybe down," I thought as I hurried a bit faster. When I got almost to the Outdoor Classroom shelter, I saw a huge crane, and it was lifting a very big tree trunk. The tree that almost hit the middle footbridge during the June wind storm had been cut and was being lifted out! I had arrived just in time to get photos of the action. My adrenalin flowed into high gear.

The kiosk (message board) was blocking my view, and I couldn't see the crane cab. However, I had no problem seeing the crane extended high above the tree tops as it seemed to brush the blue of the sky.

As I hurried on down toward the bridge, I stopped to ask one of the workers whether I could take pictures of the rest of the work. He said that I could and that it would be safe for me to stand on the bridge. Oh, boy - a front row position! From the bridge, I had a closeup view of Mr. H.T. Bowling who was operating the crane from his seat high in the cab.

From the bridge, I could see how big the crane really was. It had extended supports (out-riggers according to my husband) to keep it from toppling over  as heavy weights were lifted and shifted. And it even had a sunroof!

The remaining stump of the tree had been wrapped and secured with wide fabric straps like the ones used on the trunk. Two of Mr. Bowling's workers were on the bridge to talk with the guy (who worked with Mr. Dundas) in charge of the chainsaw and to give hand signals for the crane operator. Each move and cut would have to be carefully thought out.

Mr. Charlie Dundas was on the west slope to guide operations with his view from behind the stump. His bright yellow hardhat and shirt made it easy to keep him in sight!

                                Cuts were made through roots that were holding the tree in place.

                                                             More roots were sawed.

       Then the crane would try a lift and workers could see where more cuts needed to made.

And more cuts...

After much thought, cutting, more thought and cutting, and hand signals to the crane, the stump was finally free of all the roots that had held it in the ground. It was slowly lifted up and over the the bridge...

...and creek...

                                              ...and placed finally on the meadow creek bank.

With a wave from the cab, Mr Bowling announced that job was complete and that the stump had weighed 5,000 lbs. Wow!

            The crane boom was retracted to tuck back in place over the back of the vehicle.

The bindings were removed from the stump, rolled, and stored in their compartments. The outriggers were retracted and parts of those were put in their places. It was sort of like watching big boys put away their big toys except that this was serious business.

Charlie Dundas hiked down from the slope, smiling over a job well done. I finally could read his shirt's message and held my camera to record it. With a big smiled he boomed, "Bazinga!!!"

Seriously, I had an opportunity to see first-hand how co-operation and respect for each other's work have allowed Mr. Dundas and Mr. Bowling to accomplish difficult tasks together. Those are lessons that all of us strive to learn.

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