Rigging Shack Classic
(This column originally appeared in the June 1973 edition of Loggers World.)
While working on this issue took advantage of the hospitality of Mr. & Mrs. Howard Rothenbuhler (Rothenbuhler Engineering Co., the makers of Talkie Tooters) and parked our mobile office at his home and ranch.
Howard has a fish pond and advised me to bring my fly rod and try for some of his fish. I did as he suggested and caught one good eating trout, about a foot long, and several "turn loosers." These fish are smart, I'm not and besides Howard feeds them to plumpness daily. He said he never worried the least little bit about me cleaning out his fish.
Worked out of this area and an interesting couple of weeks it was. I worked in this area in the woods for many years and enjoyed exchanging words and memories with many people that I knew.
This part of the country always points up the passing of the years to me. In one way that it does this is by seeing the logs and loggers working and producing logs off of ground that at one time I logged, or helped log. Met one crew of young loggers one day, Tom, Don and Ron. Tow of the three said their grandads mentioned that we had worked together sometime during the past. Hell of a note!
Was going good until it took a notion to snow and blow in the high country. That shut off some contemplated articles about Timber Cutters and loggers pushing their luck by moving early to the high shows. Had a tough time making contacts in some cases. Was several different times around the W.S. Van De Grift logging outfit. Never met the slack line yarding crew nor Walt Van De Grift. Walt is the main owner of the outfit.
Maybe next time.
Several months ago traded off my older river boat for a newer model. Both boats were made by Nulf boat works out of Gold Beach, Ore. The newer one has a big Ford Marine Engine driving thru a Jet pump. Rode in it when Ray Nulf gave me a good demonstration ride. Took it up to the Skagit River where Howard Rothenbuhler and Dodz Athearn and I took it for a spin. Worked fine but we didn't fish out of it. More a familiarization ride.
The Skagit River is famous for good steelhead and salmon fishing. Several years ago went fishing for a day with Mike Danielson and Myron Metcalf. Mike caught one steelhead and I just caught a cold. Myron didn't catch anything-fish or cold.
Then Dennis Hadaller and I went fishing for a day with the eldest full time Skagit River fishing guide. That is Dodz Athearn.
Used to work in the woods with Dodz and then years later he quit logging and went into the fishing guide business as a full time occupation. Think he has been at it about 25 years now. He is one hell of a good fisherman and knows that river like a housewife knows her kitchen floor.
Back to our trip. Dodz caught a fish that day but Dennis and I blanked out.
Another trip later in company with Forrest Hamilton, Howard Curtis and Dodz. Forrest and Howard are both Simpson men. Don't believe anyone caught a fish that day.
Then I missed a trip and that day all the people in the boat caught fish. Just my normal run of fishing luck.
Well then on this last trip into that country Howard Rothenbuhler and I spent a day with Dodz fishing for both steelhead and salmon. Dodz caught two and Howard and I blanked out.
Few days later we tried it again. This time by golly I caught a fish. King Salmon weighting 22 1/2 pounds. I don't trust those scales and Dodz said he could manipulate them to read almost anything he wanted them to. Howard opined that if Dodz had caught the fish he'd have weighed in at about 35 pounds.
At last my patience was rewarded and that broke a long dry spell.
I've never been much of a fisherman but eyars ago used to wet the lures quite often. One fine winter fell and bucked timber with Elmer Buss of Florence. We worked on Cape Creek and we did lots of fishing and duck hunting together that winter when the weather said, "don't work today."
After that one summer in Alaska did some fishing but since then, and that has been 19 years ago, haven't done much in the way of trying to catch fish. Made up my mind this year that I'm going to do more of it and intend to keep that good idea up front where it will get some attention.
Like what I do and wouldn't change it. Work long hours sometimes but it isn't hard work like logging. Usually during a calendar year we put out 12 issues of Loggers World and one book or extra issue. Thus every time you sit down or look around the enjoyment of the moment is clouded by the approaching deadline of the next issue of Loggers World-or the special issue or a book. No chance to get away from it-much.
At the same time the paper grows and thus needs more words and pictures. Hank Nelson is a big help because he covers lots of logging and is a good logging writer. Stan White of Portland usually gets us an article every month or so. This eases the burden and is appreciated.
This year Earl Roberge is going to be the main writer and photographer for the October issue and this gives me some breathing room.
At the same time we are looking for new loggers, covering more territory and extending ourselves and our friends and our working area.
This year we hope to put out a couple of issues on logging in British Columbia. One place to go is 80 miles north of Terrace, British Columbia to the North River. There they do lots of logging. Put the logs in the Nass River and drive them down the river to salt water. Hope to leave here about the tenth of June to cover that interesting spectacle of logging and driving logs down river.
Then another thing we want to do is to cover some British Columbia Water Logging. That is, we want to put a boat in the water between Vancouver Island and the Mainland and find loggers that log and put their logs in the water. Doesn't mean that we shall look for outfits that only log directly to the water but rather outfits that include dumping and booming logs in their operation.
Sounds like fun and should be interesting to do and interesting to read about.
Tom White was telling me about this Contract Logger who had made some money and went to France on vacation. While there he got involved in some trouble in one of the establishments and wound up sentenced to death by their head chopping guillotine. On the morning set for his execution he found that he was to be third. Behind an Englishman and a Frenchman.
The Englishman took his place, head down, neck on the block with the blade about six feet above him waiting to be dropped. When asked if he had anything to say he replied, "God Bless the Queen! There'll always be an England." The head man gave the signal, the blade was cut loose and down it came. But.....it came to a halt just above the neck of the intended victim.
Well, the people got excited and said that an Act of God had saved this man and that he was to be set free.
Next came the Frenchman. He took his position. When asked if he had any last words he made some remarks appropriate to the time and place.
They dropped the big blade. Again it came down and stopped just before it touched the back of the victim's neck. Now the people did go crazy. Here were two executions in a row that were stopped by an Act of God. The Frenchman was set free with the congratulations and the blessings of all parties.
Now came our Hero's turn. The Contract Logger. He got in the thing, head down, blade up ghigh. Hearts beat faster as the first steps of the execution were taken. They asked this logger if he had any last words. He said, "If you jerks don't grease that sheave up there you ain't ever going to cut any one's head off!"