I had a 9 cord permit for wood up in the forest. I had 1.5 cords worth of tags left - my last trip (1.5 would be a big load for me). I knew of a tree - a dead Lodgepole pine. But there was a problem. A large living Quaking Aspen had uprooted and was now leaning against the dead standing pine (~60 degree angle). Both were big trees (not huge). Moreover the aspen was leaning against the pine in the opposite direction I wanted to fell it. If I cut the pine that aspen is coming down, too. Where? Who knows? This could get dangerous. The aspen needs to come down first.
I noticed another smaller dead pine staggered to the right about 15 feet away from the large pine. I decide to take it too. If I could get the aspen to fall off of the large pine, I bet it would stumble right into this smaller pine and get hung up again. What to do? My plan - first cut the small pine, next the aspen, and finally the target tree, the big pine. Time consuming, yes. I don't know what that leaner is going to do if I cut my target tree first, and I don't know what happens to the target tree with that leaner pushing on it. If it goes in the wrong direction I have tripled my work load (I'm trying to drop the pines toward the dirt road).
So, I drop the little pine (20") base. It goes where I want it to go - towards the road. These trees are really dry. The tops are full of small branches and pine cones. The tree goes down - thump! The top branches shatter into bits and pieces laying a 2 inch layer of twigs and cones across the road. Now I can try to get the large aspen to roll off to the right of the big pine. I'm not suppose to cut living trees. But this storm-falling aspen was saved from death by getting caught in the pine. It's a goner.
I start by making the uncomfortable 4' up the trunk diagonal cut on the leaner. As the cuts are made, this aspen tree just keeps plopping down without falling. On the second or third chunk cut I get sloppy and pin my chainsaw bar. I go back to the truck and grab another saw. I get back to the aspen, and try to fire up the Dolmar. No go. I check for fuel - no fuel. Back to the truck. On the way, it occurs to me that maybe I could just use a strap and tug the bottom of the aspen loose so it will fall. Okay, I'll try this.
After several pulls with the truck, I eventually get the aspen to fall. It goes to the right and falls right on top of the downed small pine. I think, 'I'll take some of that aspen if I need extra wood to reach the 1.5 cord limit.' (Little did I know that I wouldn't even be able to harvest all of the small pine much less the aspen). Next, I drop the large pine. I'm off. I was trying to send it towards the road but not across the road - but I'm 30 degrees off and it falls on the road across the top of the other small pine - thump! Now there is a 4" layer of twigs and cones across the road.
I buck up the large pine. Most of the rounds are big. I can see I need to do a better job of estimating the cordage in a tree. This one tree pretty much fills my trailer (6.5' x 11') with stacked rounds two high (32"). I'm use to smaller trees. Darn, I didn't realize there was that much wood in that big pine - it didn't look that big to me.
After a few hours I'm exhausted rolling and loading these big rounds - at least they are dry. I cut the top half of the small pine and load some into the pickup bed. I have to get it off of the road. And, I cut six 32 inchers to use as a wall across the back of the trailer ( to pin the big rounds in). I hope this works. The 2 wheel drive Tundra slowly crawls up the hill of this dirt road and makes it to the main gravel road. I stop and recheck the load - my strapped in 32 inchers appear to be staying in place.
It's a heavy load. So I go 25 mph down the mountain. At some point I smell hot brakes. I slow down and avoid using the brakes. I take the back roads for 35 miles - slow and steady. I get home - all of the wood is still there - whew, made it. I'm now done with wood gathering in the forest, at least for this year. I realize I need to get and bring a rake next time. That 4 inch layer of twigs and cones needs to be raked to the side of the road (fire hazard), oops. I can hear the foresters in my head cussing when they have to do this. Next year....