Logging and Mill Tour

Last week was the first Forks Chamber Logging and Mill tour of the season. I got to the Visitor Center at 8:45 and signed in and met my fellow tour-ers; they were from New York and London. Our tour guide for the Day was Randy Mesenbrink.

Over the past 20 some years since the tour started I have been more time than I can count and it is always different.

In the early days, I went with former tour guides like Ben Lonn and Ron Shearer and later Joe Seymour and Richard Halverson. I have gone a number of times before when Randy was the guide.

Sometimes the logging sites are close to town and sometimes …it is a bit of a drive …we were heading to OWL MOUNTAIN!

As we took off Randy offered a little Forks data and my fellow tourists asked questions. Randy shared history of the Bogachiel Bridge and also explained the reason for the three traffic lights that appear as you drive south. He also took the time to talk about cranberry bogs.

Up the Hoh Mainline and deeper into the woods Randy shared some Olympic Corrections Center info and how the inmate crews help with fires and tree planting.

Along the way, he stopped and grabbed samples of the different trees that grow in our area as well as info on the Salal/floral industry. Randy also explained that the logging operation we were going to was a state sale that benefitted schools and a little bit about how that works.

Then we started climbing higher and higher …even though I have been on many steep logging roads before, I have never been a fan. My husband used to drive near the edge and say, “Look over the edge …” “No I don’t want to look over the edge.” Anyway thankfully we met no trucks and made it to top and I think we were above the clouds and I think it started snowing.

Randy explained the carriage and we watched a turn of logs come into the landing. Randy even had a little choker in the bus and demonstrated for the tourists how they work. We then learned they were getting ready to change the setting.

My camera was getting wet so I headed for the tour bus and then heard a bunch of honking … “Are they honking at me?” I heard, “Hey move that bus,” Randy was explaining some trees and older stumps on the hillside …I let Randy know we were in the way of progress as they needed to drag some lines down the road. So in the bus we got, and out of the way!

Down the mountain and the view was amazing looking out over the varied stands of trees…way below. We only met two trucks on the way out and made it safely back to the VIC.

The Logging and Mill Tour is down to just one driver …which is Randy…if you are logging knowledgeable and have time please consider volunteering for this once-a-week activity that lasts about three hours. For questions or to sign up for the tour call the VIC at 360-374-2531.

Christi Baron, Editor