Finley's Rigging Shack "Classic"

(This column originally appeared in the August 1974 edition of Loggers World.)

By the time you get your last issue of Loggers World I should be about 50% finished with the main parts of the next issue. That is, I should have several articles done and have collected hundreds of pictures and written down several thousand words. This entire year of 1974 (so far in 74) my schedule has been haywire. Some of it is my inefficiency and some of it, no...come to think of it, most of it is my inefficiency.

Although I’ve made many trips into logging areas that weren’t logging yet, and although many things have happened that were not scheduled happenings I haven’t handled the job very wisely. And too this year everything I’ve touched has broken down. We pride ourselves upon getting and having very good tools. This year those tools haven’t been that dependable.

For instance, we buy and use the very finest (according to the advertisements) of cameras. This year spent several thousands of dollars on NIKON equipment, who say they make the very finest of 35mm cameras and accessories. They not only say it but many photographers will agree with them. It is good equipment but even so I managed to buy a new one (at what a price!) that doesn’t work in all departments. Imagine-all that money on a camera with a built in light meter and I have to carry another light meter (cost ten bucks) because the camera lite meter runs the batteries down in a couple of days.

When I take a trip to the woods I like to be fairly self-sufficient. Have my equipment with spares, typewriter, supplies, extra cameras, lots of film and so on and so forth. I’ve had more mechanical breakdowns with new equipment this year than ever before. Exasperating!
Enough bitching. But between poor planning, a late spring and things busting up it has been hectic times with built in challenges and lots of fun.

Paul Wampler

I had the opportunity of spending a couple of hours one afternoon with Paul Wampler. Paul is one of the old time logging operators in the Chiloquin, Oregon area. He is mostly retired now and his son Bob runs the logging. Paul is one of the most interesting men a man could ever meet. A real treat to get to talk to him.

Emery Bros. Logging Co. of Lakeview

I took a trip to Lakeview with the prime purpose of meeting the Emery Brothers and doing some picture taking and writing about their logging operation. Got there before they started to work. Not a big thing-I’d come back next week. They were scheduled to get started then. Ground was wet and the F.S. wouldn’t let them start yet. Came back next week-they had got some rain, ground was wetter and the F.S. wouldn’t let them start yet.

I like those fellows. Seem like good loggers and fine people. Am going to get over there and catch them logging yet this season. They don’t have too long a season in that country. They log at high altitudes where the snow pack comes early and stays late. I asked Him Creel if they had really cold weather in the winter time. Jim said, “The winters aren’t all that cold, but they are long.”

Naming things

Some people have the knack of naming things. Have often wished I did. Eldon Olin and his wife are starting to build a new home on a piece of their ground right where the Mohawk River meets the McKenzie River. So they call their place “MoKenzie”. What could be better?
Martin Craine is the secretary manager of the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association. He writes and edits their newsletter called “The Whistle Punk”. Martin is a hell of a good writer and is always saying things I wish I had said. He has a place that he works on and spends time with. He calls his place “Thorbak”. A name that I find especially fitting and pleasing.

My wife and I have 20 acres of brush land. We work on it when we get time. Trying to learn something about the tree farming business. I spend sweaty hours cutting and piling brush till I’ve got brush piles to trip over every 20 feet. Ever since we got this property I’ve been trying to find a name for it. Something simple, not cutie pie sweet, but a name we can refer to and call it by when we are talking about it. I’m tired of calling it our “place” or our “property”. Need to call it something functional and easy to the tongue and recognizable. Only thing I can ever come up with is the “Brush Pile”. Actually it is several hundred brush piles.

We have a good TD-15 bull dozer on the property. I hardly ever use it for land clearing. Prefer to take a chain saw and cut down the brush and pile it between the trees. Can’t stand to push any of our valuable trees.

I told you about Marin Craine. Am stealing a page out of “The Whistle Punk” and reproducing it here, hoping that you’ll enjoy Martin’s writing as much as I do.

“Musing at Thorbak”

“I’ve often wondered about the expression “wilderness experience”, even before the days of THORBAK, and now I wonder even more. I’m certain you’ve shared my observation of references to a “wilderness experience” as something rather sacrosanct, something that purifies the soul of man-something akin to several productive sessions with a good psychiatrist.

I could possibly quarrel with the benefits of a “wilderness experience”. I’m certain they are real and desirable by most modern standards. I have my doubts, however, that a “wilderness experience” is unique only to truly established “wilderness.” There are real questions in my mind, and I wonder if we aren’t dealing with a myth about this sort of “experience.”

THORBAK can hardly be classed as wilderness by most acceptable standards. It is small, has a road into it, access is by motor vehicle, paved highways are nearby and the sounds frequently penetrate its borders, and it has been logged at least once and has been subjected to the hands of man in many ways. But I’ll bet a solid silver 50-cent piece that THORBAK offers to me as much refreshment, mending of the mind and “experience” of the outdoor type as any type of activity that could be truly classed a “wilderness experience.” What’s more, I can’t be convinced that other people are too much different.

Sort of makes me wonder if a “wilderness experience” is really all it’s cracked up to be. Does it really take a wilderness to do the things for man that such “experience” is supposed to do? I think not, and thus the need for wilderness to provide opportunity for wilderness “experience” is a rather slender thread for support of much “wilderness” classification consideration which is a current rage.

I recall a time of momentary relaxation in the heart of an industrial tree farm while in the company of one prominent wilderness proponent, and I inquired about the moment in the woods being a “wilderness experience”. On getting a negative answer, I asked why. The response was that he knew a road was just out of sight over the ridge. It’s a little hard to fathom that sort of baloney.

Well, I’ll take my THORBAK, secure in the knowledge that it is not public property, it is all mi ne and that I earned it with a few years of honest toil, determination and dreaming. I don’t have to get a permit to walk the trail, and if there’s garbage it’s mine and I can clean it up. The animals visit me without knowing it’s not a classified wilderness, and the trees grow and the wild flowers bloom all the same. And I have a sense of security and serenity that is not possible on land that belongs to all the people.’

Now that you have digested some of Martin’s writing I want to share with you one of his Editorials. This man has the gift of going straight to the point.