Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Tree Cutting

Friday was 11.11.11 and Utah State beat BYU 69 to 62 in men's basketball.  AWESOME. Way to start out the season right, Aggies!

Saturday was so much fun. And I am not being sarcastic. It was a fantastic adventure filled with lots of snow and great people. Every November the Utah State Forestry Club goes up to Deseret Land & Livestock (DLL) Ranch near Evanston Wyoming and cuts pine trees out of aspen stands, so that the native aspen can grow uninhabited. They then sell these amazing Christmas trees to the local community and student body in front of the College of Natural Resources.

Driving down the snowy road!
Here's how the day went (caution... it's long):

We started off our adventure today around 8am. That involved finding a ball small enough to pull the trailer with my truck. Once that was accomplished we had to find a way to hook up the trailer lights.  Luckily I have a (6 round to 5 flat) convertor in my tool box. Who knew?  Problem solved. My hitched even dropped low enough so the trailer rode flat! Perfect.  A few minutes later... ok more than a few... 16 people were piled into five SUV's/Trucks and we were off.  Off into a snow storm that is!

Donovan attempting to turn around.
Donovan (the guy who kind of heads of this stuff -  although he isn't the Forestry President) lead the way pulling one flat deck and trailer and I was right behind pulling the other trailer. Then the other three cars followed behind us.

We made it up Logan Canyon fighting the heavy snow fall and stopped once we made it to Garden City.  Going up the Canyon took about an hour, which is pretty long considering it shouldn't take that much time.  Then we discovered a couple of problems. The light's on Donovan's trailer didn't work. But after some tweaking we finally got running lights.  Then my trailer was having fits and we had to rewire stuff... anyways in the end it didn't work. So I was without turn signals or breaks - but that's ok.

Yep. I slid backwards.
Everybody headed to the DLL and enjoyed clear roads for about an hour.  Then we entered the ranch and headed up a canyon. And the light drizzle of rain turned into snow. And the snow just kept coming down.

The first problem came at a small hill.  It was not my fault! Haha. A two-by-four in Donovan's trailer decided to jump ship and come flying towards the front of my truck. (It literally caught some air!) So rather than have it break a head light or smash into my wind shield I stopped. Bad idea. The hill was a little slick. So I slid backwards down the hill with the trailer.  What's impressive is that I manage NOT to jackknife. That impressed everybody.  I backed up, gained some speed, and went up the hill.  Everybody got a laugh.  The day had gone to perfect so that was our little "incident."  Haha.  Until Shane's truck couldn't make it up the hill. Which was even funnier.  So we piled extra people into our cars and left Shane's car sitting in a snowbank.

More turning around... this time manually. 
It didn't take too long before we reached our destination. What beautiful trees covered in snow! Everybody got the chainsaws and started cutting. After 80-100 trees were cut we had to turn the trailers and cars around.  Not easy.  Especially after two feet of snow had fallen. And the road is not meant to turn things around it.  Needless to say it was an adventure that involved a lot of sliding, getting stuck, digging, and pushing.  But everybody got turned around eventually!
The tree for the College of Natural Resources Atrium!
Then something bad happened. Donovan was driving Frank's - a professor at USU- truck so the meant someone had to drive his SUV.  And then, while we were loading the last of the trees onto the trailers, someone locked his keys inside the car. Not good. 20 miles from the nearest sign of civilization and locked out of the car.  What's even worse is that the car was blocking everybody else from leaving.  Donovan worked to unlock the car and was so close!  So close... until he accidentally shattered the window.  Not good. At least we got the keys out. :)

Then we headed down the mountain! Oh, that is after I managed to carefully remove glass pieces from his eye.  First aid knowledge comes in handy sometimes!  As if enough hadn't happened already happened we had more adventures on the way out.
Just cutting down trees :)
Carefully sliding down hills and powering up iced over roads.  Everything went pretty smooth until I got a flat tire.  Fail.  At least it wasn't the tires on my truck. Just a trailer tire.  By this time Donovan and I were the only two vehicles in sight.  Everyone else had driven ahead - but we had to take it slow because we were pulling heavy loads. So we changed the tire.  Not that the spare was in much better shape... which leads me to my next "adventure."

Not more than 1/2 down the road the spare was looking pretty sad.  Not sure what to do we dug through Frank's truck and managed to find a sweet air pump that plugged into the cigarette lighter. Yes!  We filled the tire then headed on down the road.

The drive was slow and tedious, but it was beautiful outside.

Finally after a flat tire, tire seperatation, broken window,
multople vehicles getting stuck we made it back to
Logan/Green Canyon!
As soon as hit the road it was pretty easy going for another hour.  Until I started to see rubber flying out from the tire.  Yep.  The tread separated from the tire. Impressive no?  I hate that trailer. Haha.

Well I drove with the tire separated all the way back to Logan. Let's just say a tire should NEVER look like the way it did when I got to Logan.  I managed to make it smoke, spark, and wear it down to the steel. It was epic.

But I made it!  And, despite the tires poor condition, it still had air in it!

Once back in Logan (around 6:30pm) we managed to drop the trailers, grab a few trees, and head home.  I got a rather cute tree for my apartment if I do say so myself.
Tree stand yet to be bought.
Tomorrow we have to unload the trailers and set up the trees in front of the CNR. So that will be something to do in the afternoon.  Oh and get gas.  Complements of the Forestry Club.

All in all it was an adventurous day.  Glad my truck did well. Hate the tires on the Forestry trailer. And love all the trees we got!  I feel bad the Donovan broke his window and Kourtney had to drive back with it only covered up by a blanket stuck in the door. But we all laughed at the end of the day.  Now we have an awesome story to tell.

Edit: More Photos!
So this afternoon (Sunday) we, the forestry club, had to unload trees from the trailers, set them up, and take some down to the CNR.  Kourtney got same great pics and I thought I would share. :)

Our trailers. :)

Yep.. I got my truck and fully loaded trailer all the way
through Logan Canyon in the snow with that thing.

Lining up our trees.

Haha. How many people does it take
to stand up a tree? I'm somewhere in the group!
Not the whole group. But most!

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