Published: November 29th 2009November 29th 2009
California is always hot right? Wrong! Back to the freezing cold after the heat of Vegas. The aim of the project was to cut down trees to reduce the chance of fire in a high risk area.
Day one and LOTS of traveling. Problems with the trailer lights meant we didn't get away until 8.45 on the mammoth 16 hour journey through Arizona, Nevada and into California. We arrived just before midnight and the temperature was deceptively warm as we set up camp.
Day two and snow snow snow! Not very cold at this point and the snow made the camp look very picturesque. After breakfast we were told we had the day off while the 4 supervisors got a head start with cutting down trees. This gave us the chance to head out to the lake and check out the beautiful scenery. Then into town and to the cinema to complete the day of rest.
Day three and it was getting colder: 6 layers of clothes on for the mornings work. Both crews were working together to carry the logs to the roadside. Easy work but very repetitive so it was just as well that everyone was
talking and there were some really funny characters to keep us all amused. We were supposed to have a chipper delivered that afternoon but it never materialised so the rest of the working week was just carrying logs out of the forest.
Day four and even colder, but unlike some people i had no problems getting to sleep at night. Crews split up to work on different sites and my crew went to a place with a snow covered, steep hill. This made getting the logs and brances roadside challenging but made easier with the use of human chains and log haulers. Lots of waiting around because we had caught up on the supervisor's work from day two.
Day five and the coldest day of my life so far: -14 degrees at night with a daytime high of -4. Still no problems with lack of sleep although it was clear that some people were suffering. The two crews were reunited becauser there were trees at the bottom of a particularly large hill that required a long human chain to get the logs roadside. The work took all day and again lots of standing around in the cold.
Day six and a lot warmer ( still well below freezing at night). Back to separate crews and onto a small area in which nearly every tree needed to be removed. This took up all morning so onto a new site for the afternoon: a bigger lot by a stream with just as many trees to remove.
Day seven, last working day and it turned out to be just a half day back at the same site. Mid morning, one of the cahinsawas broke so even more waiting around, which gave rise to some California sunbathing. Another trip to the lake and surrounding viewpoints in the afternoon before heading back to camp to clean the cookset and get as ready to leave as possible for the next day.
Day eight and on the road again. Destination: Las Vegas, via Death Valley. The trip home was too long to do in one day so we were spending the night in Vegas, paid for by ACE. We arrived at about 7pm, checked in and headed out for a meal and some more wandering the strip.
Day nine and an early start for the drive back to Flagstaff which took
about 7 hours and then the familiar routine of van cleaning and checks. Arriving home a day later than all the other crews, i thought i wouldn't get the chance to go on any trips but this was not the case. It turned out that a large group were going down to phoenix for a basketball game Sunday night, I managed to book my place on the trip and so we all left saturday morning, having just discovered i had to leave for project Monday morning. This meant having to get the bus back to Flagstaff after the game and only 1 night in Phoenix. We arrived in the state capitol at 3pm and spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool before heading out for pizza and then back to poolside for the hot tub. The weekend was on a budget and so we had 7 people sleeping in a room meant for 4, which was a good laugh but had the meant not much sleep for anyone. Having said that we did all have a big lay in on Sunday, getting up just in time to check out at midday. Then into the city center to spend
the afternoon window shopping at the outlet center before meeting the others back at the hotel. The stadium was a long way from the hotel so we took a taxi, via the bus station to put bags in lockers. The game started at 6 and ended about 8.30 with all the entertainment in between. The game was very enjoyable with Phoenix beating Detroit comfortably. After the match it was time to get traveling. The bus was at 11pm and got us home at 2.30, so enough time for some sleep before the next project.
There are more photos below