Participants: Lucas Braun, AJ Dreher, Jacob Grossbard, Declan Dawson Taylor (In spirit)
It all started at the November 4th exec meeting. Jacob, Haley Foladare, and Declan were sitting in on the meeting and giving their sage advice from their years on exec. During the meeting, the topic of firewood at Brew was brought up. I proposed, based on Settare Shariati’s suggestion earlier that week, that we go up that weekend to chop some more wood and move the piles that are already scattered around the trail to the hut. AJ, Declan, and Jacob hopped on board, and Jacob went about procuring the VOC chainsaw and some axes.
On Friday night, we were getting ready for the overnight endeavour, when we checked the forecast and realized it would be raining something like 70 mm on Saturday. Seeing this apocalyptic prophecy made us shift gears to a day trip on Sunday to simply chop wood instead.
Sunday morning came around, and Declan announced that he wasn’t feeling great, and would sadly not be joining us. He offered to leave his axe out for AJ to pick up. When AJ got to Declan’s, he was not awake, and the axe was not on the porch. AJ picked the rest of us up, and we resolved to buy an axe in Squamish to make up for Declan’s missing chopping implement.
We could have bought an identical axe to the one Jacob had bought earlier that week. It was around $100 however. So instead, we paid half of that for an 8 lb behemoth of an axe that we affectionately named “the cudgel”.
Some notes about the cudgel: this thing was incredibly heavy. It was also probably 3 inches at its widest and as dull as me during exams. It would prove to be far more of a liability than a boon.
When we arrived at the gate on the FSR at Brew, it was decently rainy. It was an uneventful saunter up to the Roe Creek bridge, but we ran into a few hunters. One warned us about a cougar that he had seen through his trail cams. We thanked him and continued to the bridge, where the first pile of wood awaited us. Past that, near the trailhead proper, we dropped our bags and got to work on a pile of logs by the road. Jacob gave us a few stumps to work on using the chainsaw, and AJ and I attempted to split them. What we quickly found was that the ground was very wet, so a lot of the impact from our swings was absorbed by the mud. The cudgel, unsurprisingly, was also nearly useless. Most of the time it would bounce off whatever it was hitting. We didn’t get much work done trying to use both, but some hikers passed by and grabbed a log each to bring up. It was clear that our poor choice in instrument had halved the efficiency of our endeavor.
So our system was to tag on and off with the axe and wait for Jacob to cut us a stump. It was slow going, and we probably produced about an 8th of a cord of wood before the chainsaw became dull and low on gas. We had very much underestimated how much fuel that thing burned through, and we also did not have a circular file on hand to sharpen it. So after finishing chopping the stumps on hand, we put a tarp on our measly pile and began to hike down.
Near the Roe Creek bridge, we found a pile of wet stumps and chopped some of those as well. They were way more stubborn than the wood higher up, and we managed to produce even less wood there.
All in all, we had a very pleasant day in the mountains, but not a productive one. Here’s hoping that Brew Debacle can start moving some of those piles up to the hut!