I It was dark and very early in the morning when we arrived
at our logging site. We started a nice fire going and put the big coffee
pot on and we all sat around the fire telling stories, just general B.S.ing
and discussing who was going to do what that day. Logging is a hard job but
keeps you fit and there is nothing better than starting out the day than
sitting around a fire, drinking hot coffee, watching the sun come up and
hearing the birds start up their songs. It is a very peaceful time, very
quiet and far removed from a normal job, you can actually hear yourself think………laugh.
That day I was going to do the falling along with another faller. He was
going to do the fir and spruce section and I was going to fell the large
cedars. Some of these cedars were very old, around 3ft to 4ft diameter, 90ft
to 120ft tall with the occasional monster thrown in at around 6ft to 7ft
diameter. The larger ones were what we call snags, trees that sometime in
the past had the top third of the tree broken off in some major wind. This
always created a problem for felling because of the size of the tree and
no branch weight to aid in getting thr tree over and down. Lots of wedges,
sometimes double and triple thickness wedges to get it down.
I started out to the patch of trees I wanted to fell with all my gear. My
falling saw with 56” sawbar and backup saw (48” sawbar) 4 gallons
of gas mix, I gallon of bar oil, falling belt with wedges. Axe, files, tools
etc and of course water and power snacks……smile, we sure do
get our exercise everyday lugging all this gear over fallen trees and through
I was felling for a couple of hours and all was going well, lots of trees down,
very nice western red cedar until I came to this 6ft diameter snag tree. It looked
good but I knew I was going to have trouble because the tree was perfectly vertical
and not a limb in site, like a big old cylinder standing there and about 60ft
tall, the rest of it was long gone, snapped off and gone to mush in the forest
I thought I heard a buzzing sound through my earphones as I whacked on the
tree with my axe head to see how dense it was. Western red cedar has a nasty
habit of rotting in the center.
Sometimes just leaving a shell of about 3” to 12” of wood on
the outer ring of the tree, so I test, by hitting the tree with the head
of my axe. Well this tree did not give a very satisfying sound at all and
I knew it was a shell tree, but not how thick a shell of wood it had. I started
the undercut and as I cut I saw a couple of wasps, no big deal, see them
all the time felling, so I finished of the undercut and a few more wasps
were flying around, I pried out the undercut wedge of wood. Well I have never
seen so many wasps in one place in all my life, behind the wedge living in
the center of the tree was a huge colony of wasps just waiting for and idiot
like me to come along…..laugh.
They swarmed out there like locusts, I dropped everything and ran, yelling
my head off.
The rest of the crew had shut down for a coffee break and usually we turn off
all the machines so we can talk etc. and it is nice and quiet, I think this is
what saved me. They heard me yelling so they came running and the way they describe
it I looked like a ball of moving insects with 2 legs sticking out of the bottom
with a trail of wasps leading back from me. WELL! They ran too, some to the old
shed on skids we had at the landing, a couple to the loader, but 1 man had the
presence of mind to start up the fire pump and grab the hose, as I ran into the
landing he turned on the fire hose and hosed me down. The wasps broke up and
dissipated, he just kept on hosing me down. The rest of the crew came running
back and by this time I had hundreds of stings in me and was going into shock.
They say I looked like the Michelin tire man, swelling up all over, my face
looked like a balloon, my hands were lumps and the wasps had got into my
clothing and stung me just about everywhere.
By this time I had fainted so only got the rest of the story afterward.
They called in a helicopter as I was having trouble breathing, nasal passages
and throat were swelling up and I was air lifted to hospital. They say I
was very very lucky as they had not seen someone in such deep shock before,
I could have easily died or stayed in a coma, but….I am still here……..laugh.
I can tell you it was murder going to the bathroom as my Johnson was swollen
up to 4 times its normal size and NO I do not recommend this to increase
Ever since this incident I have been very leery of bees and wasps, before
I use to just ignore them when I was in the bush but for the longest time
after I was hard pressed to go near the larger trees, checked and double
checked before I put a saw or axe anywhere near these larger cedars, this
makes for slow felling…….laugh.
Just to let you know, that wasp tree was still there 3 years after the incident,
nobody touched that tree and one of these days I will hike back in there
and see my old nemesis, see if it is still standing and will be very prepared
to run…….smile….the power of insects over humans……….laugh
Allan at Procut