Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/31/16

2/2-4/16 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I stopped in to visit Uncle Charles but Mark had him out for a doctor appointment. The drive over the pass was beautiful. There had been a recent snowfall so the trees were loaded with snow, but the road was bare and nearly dry. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 11:55.

It was easy to park the truck in spite of the new snow. After moving in, I built a fire in the stove and had my lunch and a nap. When I got up, I shoveled the snow off the lower front steps.

Then I took the shovel up to the high rock and cut a path up from the steps. The snow on top was mostly frozen hard enough so that I could walk on top of it. I fell through to my crotch at one point but I think that was because I was right next to a big rock that formed a bergschrund.

I brought a tape and a big caliper with me to see whether or not the log I had in mind to harvest was big enough. It was perfect. I needed 88 inches a foot in diameter and with a little digging, I exposed about 95 inches of the log that was a foot in diameter at the small end. I built snow platforms at the three places I needed to cut the log and then quit for the day happy that I would be able to harvest the log safely without needing Robertís help.

On Wednesday morning I called Robert and let him know that I was going to cut the log by myself and that he didnít need to come over.

After breakfast, I got the chainsaw out and took it up on the high rock to cut the log. I started at the high end with a plunge cut through the center of the log and then cut down all the way through. That was smart because the log was cantilevered straight out from there to the top and I didnít want the kerf to pinch the saw bar.

What I did next was dumb. Instead of cutting the rest of the cut from the top, I foolishly continued cutting the kerf from the bottom. And, of course the log sagged and pinched the bar tight. My saw was stuck.

I went down to the crawl space and got a wedge and a big hammer. Then, by driving the wedge into the kerf under the saw bar, it opened the kerf enough so that I could get the saw out. Then I proceeded to finish the cut correctly and also the next two cuts which freed up the two short sections of log that I needed.

The cutting had not been dangerous at all because the two pieces were pretty much embedded in frozen snow and they stayed pretty much where they were when I cut them. The top of the log fell onto the snowbank with no danger of hitting the cabin or me or anything else.

Next, I rigged a come-along to a rebar S-hook which I attached to the outer Grid E1 anchor hook and used it to skid each of the short logs up over the snowbank and down to the edge of the cliff. I belayed each log with a rope attached to the butt of the log which was held fast in the snowbank. As I pulled the log toward the cliff edge with the come-along, I relaxed the belaying rope by sliding a tautline hitch to relax the tension.

When each log reached the cliff edge, I continued cranking the come-along until the log was hanging free from the anchor hook . Then I removed my belay rope from its anchor and ran it around the Grid G1 column and tied another tautline hitch.

By tightening the tautline hitch, I pulled the log over away from the cliff. Then I alternately reversed the come-along and tightened the tautline hitch which slowly and gracefully moved the log down onto the porch deck without hitting anything. I took some video shots of some of the process.

With the two logs on the porch deck, I went in for lunch and a nap. When I got up, I split a bunch of firewood. Then I spudded the bark off the two logs. It came off pretty easily.

On Thursday morning, there was about six inches of new snow on the ground. The temperature outside was about 24į. I spent the morning organizing and packing up the contents of the toolbox that had been drying in front of the stove for a few weeks. Then I vacuumed the floor and got the place looking nice again. It was another fun week. I left for home at 12:45.

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