It’s Saturday and we came back to Fort Missoula for an event of Logging demonstrations and competition. They fired up the old steam engine on the sawmill and showed how our ancestors worked. This sawmill is representative of the portable sawmills used in Western Montana from the 1920s to 1960s. They could move this to new sites as needed on the railroad. It has a circle saw and the diameter of the circular saw blade was a limiting factor on how large a log could be sawn. The sawyer (yes, the guy that saws) controlled the thickness of the cut by moving the blocks that push the log forward.
They also demonstrated the use of a horse team moving the logs around. But the main event was a competition between 4 college logging teams. There were 2 from Montana, 1 each from Colorado and Northern Idaho and these young people took their logging skills seriously. There were even women competing. There was team synchronized axe throwing at a target, 2 person sawing a “cookie” off a log, chopping a log in half while standing on it, chopping a stump until the top falls, chopping a notch in a tree - placing a plank in the notch – climbing up on the plank – chop another notch – another plank – climb - till you can chop the top off, and finally climbing up a very tall pole with spikes on their boots and ringing the bell.
Tomorrow we move on, so we spent the evening just chatting & watching TV with Frank & Linda. We used to hang out with them in Huntington Beach a lot, and we sure miss one another :-(