In the early morning sun towards the later part of September, one begins to get certain primal urges to gather, build, and prepare for the coming Winter. At least in Colorado where the seasons blur together and Winter sets in very quickly, catching even the most experienced veteran off guard sometimes. Well, with thick soled hiking boots and a heavyweight flannel shirt on(I was probably wearing pants too but somehow they seem less memorable), a Husqvarna chain saw freshly oiled, sharpened, and at the ready, and a steaming cup of coffee in hand, we join up with Randy. To know Randy, you have to imagine back to those logging photos from before the industrial revolution. Back when the lumberjacks lived in camps far up in the hills or deep beneath the giant old growth forests. His camp on this day was a small camper parked at the end of the logging trail cut decades ago in the hills above Frasier Colorado. His wife lived back in town, a 2+ hour drive from his camp, so he spent the weekdays living on his own in the woods. His strength is not from size but from the grit and labor of many years of hard work. Another friend (deserves his own mention in a future post) Galen Smith introduced us to Randy because “Randy had just found the most gorgeous stand of character logs in a long time”. He was right!
It is worth a quick mention that we only harvest standing dead trees. This is for many reasons including…
1. The lumber is already dry and seasoned for us by Mother Nature
2. The wood is more predictable and can be worked easier
3. Lighter weight which helps in transportation
4. Less chance of insect problems in the future
5. The character enhances as it dries out in the natural elements
It was rewarding work that day as we gathered some great logs to use in our custom furniture. The cool crisp air of Autumn still reminds me of that day and many others spent hiking the high mountains of Colorado. I wish I had kept in touch with Randy but like many others who live “off the grid”, by the time the snows melted and Springtime came, his tracks had been washed away and we lost touch.