Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Angry Chain

Icy trails and cold temps were the order for the day.

Visit #1121, Saturday 3 February 18, 12:05-3:00PM, 5.2 miles.
Temps in the high 20's, sunny.

After a week's hiatus, I was back on the trail to brawl with the fallen tree near West Peak.

As I set out on Saturday, getting to the tree with a chainsaw in my backpack was potentially going to be a dicey proposition. You see, I discovered the trails were all glazed over with ice.

Fortunately, I'm getting wiser in my old age and have learned to leave my ice cleats in my backpack all through the winter.

I stopped to put them on, then walked with impunity, as I watched another hiker, even with walking poles, turn around in defeat due to the slick trail.

Now, as to this formidable opponent of a tree. It has resisted my attempts to dominate it, consuming entire tanks of fuel from my chainsaw with little progress.

About the only bright spot in this, as I approached the tree on Saturday and seeing the number of footprints through the gap I cut previously, was knowing people were using the fruits of my labor.

One reason for such poor cutting was this dead tree, whose internal wood lacked any moisture.

The other reason was my chain. Grandma could chew an apple without her dentures faster than my chain was going through that tree.

See that green tie strap? That's how Stihl identifies its low kickback chains. Kickback can cause the chain to strike you while it's running, ruining your good looks, and possibly your day. So Stihl installs them by default on all but their professional saws. But low kickback chains trade cutting effectiveness for safety. That's because homeowners with chainsaws can be their own worst enemies. I'm obsessive and techno-geeky enough to meticulously maintain my chain's sharpness, so that wasn't my problem. What was my solution?

Stihl makes a take-no-prisoners chain. It's identified by a yellow tie strap. I bought one. Sorta like when you were bad and dad brought out the strap-things were about to get ugly.

I won't bore you with the details, but this thing is a Tasmanian Devil against trees.

That yellow chain meant business. It was eye-poppingly fast. I'm talking hungry dog through a bowl of kibble fast. And I'm happy to say after using it that I retained my good looks.

Now, even your mother-in-law can fit through that gap. Well; maybe if she turns sideways...

Heady with the euphoria of success, I left the area and hiked the trails back down and by the Halfway House, where I found the leftovers from a campfire.

I returned to the park and dropped off my bag of litter for the week.

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