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Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's log season on the Columbia River

A big log on the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon So this is what's been thumping against the pilings under our building. Now it's drifted across the water to rock next to the River Pilots' building in the comparatively calm water today, but unless the tide takes it, it will be back, and the water may not stay so calm. During much of the last two weeks, it's been pretty rough.

Winter is log season. The rains and the high tides bring them floating down in all sizes; several times per year they end up knocking against the pilings for a day or so. When the water is rough, the buildings shake. We have long poles with hooks on the end, called "pike poles," and we use them to push the logs out into the river, but of course it helps if the tide takes them OUT rather than bringing them back in.

Both the pilots' building and ours have had new screens, or fencing, installed this year. The screens help keep the logs in the river rather than stuck under the buildings, but occasionally they buck the system. Last year one of the logs ripped into the hinged gate you see here and opened the door for itself and more logs. They also find ways to get under the screening, then they're locked in like . . . uh . . . caged logs.

The log above is big, but it's not huge. We get many, many smaller ones, but we also get larger ones. Here's a spectacular log that came to visit almost one year ago and managed to hang around for awhile. It's hard to call it a log; it's more like a tree. It didn't do the building much good, but it was really interesting to watch.

5 comments:

Jacob said...

That is so fascinating. I went back and looked at the really big log - very scary! At sixty feet, that one could have done massive damage!

Who would ever think logs floating down a river could be such a problem?

It must be a bit disconcerting to hear that thump-thump all day long wondering if maybe you're going to end up in the drink!

cieldequimper said...

That isn't a log, it's a whole tree. I'm with Jacob: the thump thump would drive me crazy.
Funny how these same logs -though probably not the same essence- become amber in the Baltic sea.

cieldequimper said...

P.S.: hopue you had a good night's sleep!

Lee Spangler said...

I think I understand what it sounds like. That is a nice chunk of hemlock!

Vogon Poet said...

I have just seen the other 'log', so I can accept the term for this huge chunk of wood. Aren't they dangerous for the structures along the river?

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