Thursday, July 9, 2009

Blondy Carlson and the Logger Boys

The Inland Passage of British Columbia has a long and colorful logging history. In the late 1800 into the 1930s there were a special breed of men known as hand loggers. Often working alone or in small groups and these hearty souls would fall the timber on ]steep slopes. They would then slide the logs into the sea for transport. It was a tough and dangerous business that attracted many characters. One of those early loggers was a man named Blondy Carlson. Blondy had many colorful and peculiar habits. One habit was "borrowing" trees not located on his claim. According to Bill Proctor, author of Full Moon Flood Tide, Blondy was out "borrowing" a big old growth cedar one fine spring day. He had peeled the cedar and got it sliding down the hill. Trees sliding that fast don't slow when they hit the water but dive down and will shoot high into the air when momentum changes and when they become buoyant. Just as Blondy's big cedar shot high out of the water a Forest Service boat happened to be passing. The crew waited for Blondy to amble down the hill. When asked what he was doing Blondy quickly replied that he was getting a fire log which was perfectly legal. When the forester remarked that most people burned fir, Blondy quickly clarified, "Oh, I just needed some kindling".

A nights anchorage in Napier Bay (Tracey Harbor) showed much evidence of decades of logging. A water line led to the former floating camp of Japanese loggers who worked the area in the 1920s. Their camp was situated in a drying inlet and their houses floated on high tide and went tilting at low tide.

Old equipment rusts in the coves. Roads, log slides and traces of old log dumps are still are to be found in the reflecting waters. But the only logger we saw was caricature with a yellow helmet lying sleeping on a tree root above the beach left by a recent crew.

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