Mt St Helens Loggers

Mt St Helens Loggers & Poets

Lon Minkler, to quote one of the letters received at the Castle Rock Exhibit Hall, written by a fifth grade student who had the good fortune of experiencing one of his performances, is "someone I would like to grow up to be like."
A logger all of his life, Lon now spends most of his time writing poetry and leading tours to Mount St. Helens.

It has been written that there were only two larger than life characters in the Old West ...the Cowboy, and the Logger. Both have metamorphosed into industry employees, at feed lots, and managed tree plantations. But, oh what a heritage they left!

You don't see many walking about anymore in the river valleys of the Toutle, or Cowlitz with red suspenders and 'stagged tin pants,' but much of who and what these frontiersmen were lives on in the local language, and spirit.

And this is exactly what is captured in Lon Minkler's Uncut, Uncensored, Logger Poetry as:

Tall Timber Calls

There's a wild call from the mountain
Lone wolf calls at a moon beam
The urgent calls of a pine squirrel
And the chilling cougar's scream.

I've thrilled to the cry of the loon
And the cooing of the dove
The piercing scream of an eagle
And the poets song of love.

I've heard the cry of the falcon
And the hoot-owl's mournful call
A pack of hungry coyotes
And a tiny baby's squall.

Heard the loggers call timber
And the squawking of the crow
There's one call gets my attention
Mother nature calls...I go.

Glossary Of Logging Terms

Ax - An obsolete piece of machinery used in the olden days for cutting wood. Note - timber fallers of today use a club which is weighted on one end to drive a piece of soap into a tree. They jokingly call this club an ax. The soap is shaped like a wedge and it seems to lift the trees but it resembles a wedge very little.

Block - A hunk of scrap iron you thread a cable through to go around a corner

Bug - Has nothing to do with insects. It is a small radio worn on the belt of the riggin' slinger and the hooker. You can do magical things with it like blow the whistle on the yarder.

Bull of the Woods - One who has absolute power over the outfit, some times the owner, or a hireling who has full authority.

Bunks - Has nothing to do with sleeping. A couple pieces of scrap iron fastened loosely to a log truck to lay logs on.

Butt Hook - A device that doesn't resemble a hook at all. Shackled to the butt riggin' to bell your chokers into.

Chaser - One who works on the landing, bucking, limbing, unbelling chokers and a million other little chores.

Clevis - This word along with pulley was invented by a bunch of farmers, a type of cussword I think, for every time a logger hears one of these words he will either blush laugh or get mad.

Faller - One who falls trees. In Montana they are called sawyers, in California they are choppers. Sometimes in beer joints these men are called cutters.

Moly - A hunk of a strand of cable rolled into a circle. Used as cotter pins to hold two lines together, or anything else you can think of.

Riggin' Slinger - One who "spots" the riggin' and decides which log goes in what choker.

Russian Coupling - Logs that haven't been bucked all the way through This practice is frowned upon and has killed a lot of good riggin' men.

Russian Drive - Falling one tree into another to push it over

School Marm - A tree with two trunks.

Shackle - There are two basic kinds of shackles - the pin shackle and the screw shackle. It is a horse shoe shaped object with a pin or a screw across the horse. They come in various sizes and are made of the finest steel. They hold practically everything together in the logging woods. Without the shackle and the moly there could be no logging.

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