A Tale of Two Trees

Before the fire, there were two majestic Ponderosa Pines that towered over the garage. After the fire they were still standing, but completely burned from bottom to top.

This is what the two Ponderosa Pines looked like after the fire.

Sadly, we knew that these old guys would have to come down eventually (one way or another).  The only questions were how and when.

Well, having a large excavator on site that can carry huge logs is not an opportunity to waste!  We didn’t.

We dropped the first tree up slope and cut it up into roughly 12 foot lengths.  We used the excavator to move and stack those logs along the fire road, across from where the Sea Train storage container used to be.

Image of a tall stack of large pine logs
One of the two Ponderosa Pines, stacked in its new location

The other Ponderosa was leaning to the east (down slope).  Trying to convince it to fall up slope to the west was much more of a challenge.  Ultimately we decided it was not worth the risks.  So we let it fall down slope, coming to rest on the barren hillside about 50 feet below the stump.

Image of a tree stump and a large tree on the ground below it.
The second Ponderosa now lies down slope, below the path to the picnic area.

While it was once a mature, forested hillside, the Logger’s Retreat property is now largely open land, covered with fallen trees.  Many of those trees were taken down by PG&E (to protect their power lines) and some were taken down by us. Some of the smaller ones were chipped by PG&E and those chips are useful to help control erosion. But most of the trees are still intact, now just lying across the steep hillside instead of standing tall over it.

Our current plan is to mill many of these fallen trees into landscaping timbers.  So we may eventually buck (i.e. cut up) that second Ponderosa where it lies, and then drag those logs back up the hill.  But for now we’ll just leave it on the hillside where it fell.

By the way, if you’ve ever enjoyed the historic logging train ride across the road at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, you might recognize this as what they call a “Leaverite.”  (As in “Leave ‘er right there!”)

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