Sunday, January 31, 2021

Hang Ups, What Hang Ups?

This was a tricky one

Mark & Luis have been getting a lot of practice pulling down hung up trees this year. This weekend they wanted to tackle a particularly troublesome tree that had broken and was hung up over a footbridge on the Paugussett Trail near Buddington Road.

In keeping with our practice of doing work parties in interesting weather, we went out on Saturday morning when it was 16 degrees and windy to look at it.  We debated whether we should even try to take it down or not.  

In this case, we didn't want the nice boardwalk that was built by the boy scouts to be smashed by the tree when it came down.

The red maple was hung up pretty good and would be tricky to take down.  But Mark felt we could get it and had discussed renting a gas powered pole saw from Home Depot.  We decided to come back Sunday when it was a little warmer and less windy.  

The trunk was pretty messed up, which made the tree difficult to control. 

Sunday came, and it was 6 whopping degrees warmer, but no wind, which was safer.  We started clearing some of the brush around the trees for better footing and escape routes.  Bill Dyer is taking out dead branches overhead with his electric pole saw to avoid having things crash down on us.  Bill also had his ice spikes on for better footing on the frozen ground.

Mark & Luis rented a 14' gas-powered trimming saw from Home Depot in Derby for $50.14 for 4 hours.

 The saw cut well and Mark was able to notch the tree from both sides.

Mark cut the tree while Luis and the rest of us were watching the trunk for any movement, from a safe distance.

 Mark kept offering to let us cut too, but we said "No, you've got this".

Bill and Bob were offering advice and encouragement from the peanut gallery.  "You're doing great Mark, keep going".

The tree was very persistent, and despite having most of the trunk cut thru did not want to come down.  Mark is using a little body english to cut into the shattered trunk.

It was very tiring holding up the saw.  Later  Mark discovered that the Echo saw was not extended it's full length and could be about 2' longer.  It made it a little more awkward to control, but allowed some more cutting near the top of the tree.

The trunk did finally move, but we decided to throw a rope over the tree and pull it down as a safer means to finish the tree.

The rope did the trick.  With four of us pulling on it, the tree came down with a thunderous crash.  

The main trunk embedded in the swamp just before the boardwalk. 

A piece of the trunk bounded off some logs that we had placed on the boardwalk to protect it.

The boardwalk survived unscathed, as did we.  We did learn a lot with this new experience:

  • Never use a ladder on a frozen pond with a chainsaw.
  • Wearing micro-spikes in helpful in the wintertime.
  • Renting a gas-powered pole saw and working from the ground can be safe.
  • Some hung up trees maybe should be left in place.
  • Always look up when you're out in the woods.
  • It's good to have a team to watch the tree move and offer encouraging advice.
  • Rope can be your friend.

It was another successful work party.  Mark will probably sleep well tonight after all the work using the pole saw.  Thanks to Bill, Mark, Luis, Bob & Terry for helping out.  

Now for the Groundhog Day Nor'easter that's blowing in tomorrow.


  1. Great job. Unfortunately none of us can take photos or videos while pulling on a rope. Mark did yeoman's work with the 13' saw. Amazing that the tree was so close to being completely cut through and still needed the rope pull to get it to fall. Josh and his Scout Troop will be glad to learn that we did not crash his boardwalk. We do know that when a tree falls in the woods, it makes a big noise. 

  2. This is Josh, that was my Eagle Scout Project and I appreciate you and your team Bill! Thank you for protecting what we put together, hope it is as sturdy as when we put it in back in 2013 I believe!

  3. Josh, that is a wonderful comment, thank you and greatly appreciated. You and your team built a really good boardwalk and we didn't want to mess it up. You would not believe how much time was spent doing What If scenarios in the cold; we cut it here and it swings this way and does that, we cut it there, pull it that way and it does the other thing. Fortunately it all worked out OK and the boardwalk is still good for everyone to enjoy. Your boardwalk is an impressive scout job on the Paugussett Trail which we appreciate.