In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
Our short but exciting trip
Pia and Tobias
Our short but exciting trip comes about when Tobi sees a Canadian truck and his eyes become as big as tennis balls. (“I’d really like to drive in one!”) Shortly thereafter, thanks to Rye’s dedication, the two of us are sitting in the passenger seat next to Dave, who lives here and who would like to help us with our projects by showing us logging areas in the region. The evening outing begins (in addition to Tobi’s “Wow”) with a lesson in Canadian trees: Dave tells us that here most of the trees are Douglas and Hemlock firs as well as giant cedars and explains to us how to tell them apart. We drive on the logging road – a flat gravel road on a slow incline, where we have a wonderful view of King’s Peak, but also of the very obvious results of deforestation: the ground has been eroded, the areas of the felled trees replaced only by Douglas firs because they grow fast and can be harvested like a corn field, meaning, after 50 years the sawing robots come again and cut the area clean. The tips of the trees have died off because the trees do not have enough nourishment from the soil. The sight that shocks us most is the huge pile of logs that looks like they have been arranged for a witches bonfire. For many witches bonfires. Our speculation is unfortunately not the truth – Dave explains that these are the “leftovers” of the last clear cut. It is not worth it for the logging companies to transport these branches out of the forest, so that is why they are lying around here. But it’s illegal to take them because they still belong to the logging companies. Dave curses: There are so many Canadian families who freeze in the winter because they do not have enough firewood.
Violet-colored fireweed grows on the cleared land, in the glades there are a few small lakes. Despite the logging that has been conducted here, it looks beautiful. When we get out of Dave’s truck to open the gate to his land, it is almost absolutely quiet.
“Do you have a driver’s license?” he asks. He has a surprise in store for us. Under my breath I am saying “Uh oh” to myself as Tobi grins at me. We put on neon-yellow vests, helmets and ear protection. Dave leads us to a large red logging machine which can carry his felled trees out of the forest. It has a gas pedal and a brake, as well as four levers. Dave points to me and says, “You get in there.” Oh no! My feeble excuses are not tolerated so I sit down in the drivers’ seat having already forgotten which lever is for what. “Just try!” Dave shouts. After a few tries I manage to turn the machine around and drag one tree trunk down the hill (even if it was not exactly straight). Honestly, I thought it would be more difficult. I get out of the cab, relieved, and now it is Tobi’s turn. He confidently drives up the hill again (not without another “Wow”) and returns with another tree trunk. I am envious of his speed.
Back in the truck, Dave reiterates what he wanted to show us on our excursion: First, the worst result of logging is the erosion because the old trees that are left then die off and block the rivers; Second, the logging companies waste the wood resources and third, (and this is my opinion) anyone can learn to operate logging machines quickly and easily. Tobi and I agree that it was a very thrilling but unsettling trip – not only because of all the information and impressions that will help us in our project, but also because of the unique and psychologically devastating experience of driving a logging machine.
Translated by Pilar Wolfsteller