Guest post by Mike Nash, Caledonia Ramblers

Earlier this year, the mother of all blowdowns happened on the Sugarbowl trail just above the three-kilometre mark. What made this special was that it was a very big tree for its subalpine location, sporting an unusual number of thick branches over its entire length; and it fell directly along a steep section of brushy trail. It was very difficult to bypass after the snow had left, requiring an arduous bushwhack through thick rhododendron and other brush. Later in the spring, however, the club’s venerable trail-clearing guru Dave King, now well into his eighties, carried his heavy chainsaw up the mountain, clearing seasonally downed logs as he went, until finally reaching the beast.

The epic battle that apparently ensued can only be said to have ended in a truce, as befits a contest between the ‘king’ of trail clearing and the queen of blowdown. Rather than removing the entire tree from the trail, which would have been a nearly impossible task, or abandoning that section of trail altogether and cutting a new diversion, Dave found a creative solution. After removing the lower branches, he cut out several large rounds from the thick lower stem to create a wide opening, followed by cutting a similar gap farther up where the stem wasn’t quite as thick. In between these newly opened passageways through the lower and mid-upper parts of the tree, he removed numerous large branches along one side of the trunk to create a narrow pathway tight beside the tree. This conciliation created a unique bypass that is perhaps the most innovative deadfall treatment that I have ever seen in 45 years of wandering our local mountains. It is well worth the hike up the mountain just to see it, with the alpine ridges above being merely the icing on the cake. Way to go Dave!