Procut Portable Sawmills in Prince George, BC Back to Stories and Laughs


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 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 the bush.
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 floor.

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 your size……laugh.

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