PLSO The Oregon Surveyor November December 2020

19 Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon | Featured Article S pring was close. It was March. We were cold, but there was hope. It was one of those days when, had the sun been able to shine through the scudding clouds for any decent length of time, we could have felt its radiant warmth. But the shy, tentative cloud openings were only teasing us. It was, however, warm enough to melt last night’s snow just enough to assure we were soaked from half snow and half water dripping from the higher limbs of the conifers. We were a survey crew of three—McCrae, Peterson, and myself—tasked that day with brushing out a P-line for a logging road. We were doing all right until lunch time. Despite the irony that you never can stay dry in the woods wearing rain gear, the physical effort of constantly moving while brushing line with chainsaws and machetes kept us not-as-cold. Beautiful country, the Trinity National For- est in Northern California. Drive 37 miles down State Route 299 west out of Red- ding, passing Whiskeytown Lake at about 10 miles, until you get to an intersection called Douglas City. You hang a left and follow Highway 3 up over the summit at Deerlick Springs Road (I will leave to the reader’s imagination how some vandal had altered the sign), then wind your way down into Mountain Valley and the town of Hayfork, population 2,368 at the 2010 census. Before white man, the village and the Na- tive American tribe who lived in the area were called Nor’el Pom. Hayfork took its name from the hayfields near the South Fork Trinity River. This adventure took place circa 1980, and since the project was closer to Hayfork than Weaverville, we lodged in the Gold Ridge Motel in Hay- fork. I always liked staying in Hayfork. In addition to the beautiful and isolated location, I enjoyed our breakfast wait- ress at the local eatery. On the surface she treated everybody, denizens and strangers alike, as if they were her own teenagers in need of a stern disciplinar- ian, all the while managing to exude an air of motherly love. Another perk I came to enjoy in Hayfork was the rock band that played popular music of the time at the local watering hole on weekends. The lead guitarist was the high school music teacher and not too much older than we were. By their looks, the drummer and the bass play- er were probably the teacher’s students. The morning of the day in question began typically enough. It was Sun- day (in a previous essay, I described the legendary “ten-four” work schedule, making Sunday the First Day of Thurs- day). [ Editor’s Note : Read that essay, The Sidehill Chronicles–Part 1: The Centigrade– Fahrenheit Adventure, in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue: Documents/2014_JanFeb_v37_i1.pdf] We had enjoyed the band and a few beers the previous evening, so it required ex- tra effort to get going. After paying “Mom” for breakfast and sack lunches, we loaded up the chainsaws and machetes and drove out to the job. That kind of work in cold and drizzly early spring weather is not as bad as it might sound to someone imagining or remembering it from an inside desk job, where the cof- fee and donut station is just a few steps away. The constant movement and phys- ical effort that the work requires keeps you warm, you are young and healthy, you are out in the deep woods, you are making decent money, your chainsaw is humming along, and it’s the First Day of Thursday. The hours pass pleasantly enough until your Party Chief, in this case yours truly, signals lunchtime. When that constant movement and phys- ical effort ceases, you very soon realize how sloppy and miserable it actually is. You unwrap your sandwich, and in sec- onds the icy droplets render it soggy. “OK,” I said, “Let’s build a fire.” To Build a Fire With Apologies to Jack London continues on page 20 T By John Thatcher, PLS