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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/18/2015

I figured that after yesterday's little adventure with downed trees we'd be clear for a while. After all, two trees was more than we usually get after a big windstorm and there really wasn't any wind to speak of at Tanglewood last night anyway.

So as I headed down the canyon in the o'dark this morning, I was nearly all the way out; just one more creek crossing to go, when I was confronted with a big honking tree (a cottonwood I later discovered) lying across the road. Looking it over with a flashlight I saw that the bank it had been on had crumbled either to wind or rain or both, and that the "top" was now nicely wedged between a couple of boulders on the far side of the road. 

This tree was much larger than the ones I dealt with yesterday, but I did try; I still had the tow rope in my truck, so I looped it around the tree and backed the truck up. This wasn't as effective as it might have been since I had to back uphill in that particular spot, but the rope did engage and the truck tried gamely -- for a few moments. And then the tow rope broke.


At this point I decided to head back home and wait for daylight. I let folks at work know I would be rather late and eventually was able to garner the aid of the lovely Colleen to come tackle the beast from the far end. I got back to the tree basically at the same time she was arriving with her battery-powered chainsaw. These are handy things but of course being battery powered there's only so much they can do, so we looked the tree over carefully deciding on the best places to make cuts. She cut through the "top" end of the far side of the road first, and was able to get most of the way through the "trunk" end before the last of her batteries (she had two) gave up the ghost.

At this point we looped her tow chain (she had a proper chain in her truck) around the tree and she backed down the hill, pulling on the upper end to maximize the leverage. Worked like a champ; with a loud CRACK the bottom snapped where we cut it.

So then it was just a matter of rolling it out of the way and picking up the various tools and drinks and stuff we'd discarded while working on the tree. All told, it took about an hour, and Colleen was a bit pleased she had a good feel for how long her batteries would actually last.

Having now learned a good lesson about having a chainsaw handy (and being late for work anyway), I swung by Home Depot on the way to work to pick up my own battery-powered chainsaw -- a Ryobi 40V with a 14" blade (hers had a 12" blade and we both felt that was just under adequate with the larger tree). I went ahead and picked up a spare battery as well (just in case) and a bottle of bar oil (wasn't sure I had any at all). These will be fully charged and then the whole thing will live in the back of the truck -- just in case.

Price of living in the view!

Steven in Colorado


The big tree in the headlights; naturally it was pretty dark at this point. You can see part of my (by then broken) two strap over on the right.
The big tree after it's had the middle nicely chopped out.

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