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Dutchess Rail Trail: Timing Is Everything

The Thanksgiving Snowfall didn’t amount to much, but it did bring down a bunch of branches across the area. A few days later, as we rode along the DCRT on an errand, we admired the freshly sawed fallen trees and piles of brush by the side of the trail: evidently, a DC DPW crew had just cleared the trail.

Then we encountered this at Mile Marker 7.0:

DCRT - fallen tree

DCRT – fallen tree

As nearly as we can tell, that tree fell minutes before we arrived; the trunk snapped about five feet off the ground. There were bike tire tracks on the (wet!) trail directly below the trunk, but none stopped on one side and resumed on the other, so we were the first bikes on the scene.

We portaged the bikes, continued the mission, and called it in when we got to an information sign with the DPW contact number.

Timing is everything!

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  1. #1 by Brent on 2014-12-20 - 11:46

    And there you were, without your chainsaw. For shame.

    • #2 by Ed on 2014-12-20 - 12:08

      Mary’s old Swiss Army Knife had a spiky wood saw blade, but she lost it a few years ago during a Security Theater performance at the Smithsonian…

  2. #3 by Trudi on 2014-12-20 - 13:48

    Timing is SO important… and it could have been a lot worse… as happened earlier this year in Raleigh NC.
    http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/17/3542263/shaffer-gentle-soul-felled-in.html

    • #4 by Ed on 2014-12-20 - 14:15

      Aye!

      When we rode the C&O Canal from DC to Pittsburgh, back in 2007, a tree fell across the towpath a dozen feet in front of several young cyclists, including our lass; no injuries, but plenty of excitement.

      • #5 by Frans on 2014-12-20 - 15:59

        A decade ago I took a walk through the snow-covered neighborhood. There was something like one meter of snowfall, taking out electricity lines to some parts of Germany for almost two weeks. Anyway, while walking through the snow there suddenly was a loud cracking noise from above, and two or three branches three or four times my size plonked down straight in front and right behind me.

        Of course, compared to the guys snowboarding the way you might on the water, except with a car instead of a boat, I was a complete genius walking under those trees.

        But yeah, things snapping under the weight of snow — that wasn’t really practical knowledge for me.

        • #6 by Frans on 2014-12-20 - 16:00

          PS Trees falling over and big branches breaking off under stormy weather, on the other hand… ;)

  3. #7 by Red County Pete on 2014-12-21 - 11:03

    I’ve lost a few trees on the land, usually with a combination of wet snow (sticks to the pine needles) and high wind. The most difficult one was a fairly small tree (10″ trunk) that landed on another tree. Took some careful work to get that one down without problems. I have several trees that could lose major limbs in a storm, but so far they’re OK. Not like I need more firewood right now…

    Every once in a while, somebody has a dead tree fall on a back road. Half of the time, they get ticked off that nobody was sympathetic to them. Ain’t my job to cut your dead tree, ma’am.

    • #8 by Ed on 2014-12-21 - 11:53

      nobody was sympathetic to them

      Well, there’s sympathy and then there’s carrying logging gear Just In Case.

      My bike tool kit obviously needs a come-along…