Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Museum Main to Steam Donkey No. 1

Steam Donkey No.1 on a cedar log sled.
Quad riding in the winter can sometimes be problematic. We get snow in the high country that blocks our passage, and we get rain that makes riding not as much fun (at least for me).

Last week after some trail building to create a spot to offload our quads from the barge and intercept an old logging road, we decided to go up Museum Main in search of the steam donkeys.


Piston to turn the cable drums for extension and retraction.
There are two donkeys in the bush above Chippewa Bay on Powell Lake, but with shorter riding days we opted to go to No. 1 and only scout out the way to No. 2.


Levers that were once used to operate the drums.
Our good friend John took me to Steam Donkey No. 1 years ago. Then we had to slog through some pretty bad slash and under growth. Now Museum Main goes right by Donkey No. 1.


Massive steel drums that played heavy steel cables in and out.
We almost didn't make it because of the snow on the road. But then there we were. There's a short trail from the main up into a grove of second growth trees that were preserved around the steam donkey.


Starting a fire in the boiler to warm our hands.
The old steam donkey was used to yard logs from up high up on the hill down to Powell Lake to float down to town and either to the mill, or out to sea to be delivered to Vancouver.



Many steam donkeys were abandoned in the bush when logging operations were completed. This was the case for the two up Museum Main from Chippewa Bay on Powell Lake.



A few have been lovingly restored and maintained like this one in a YouTube video by tubesmartine.

For more stories about riding in the Powell River backcountry, there's Up the Main and Farther Up the Main. Both are available in Kindle, e-book and print formats. -- Margy

19 comments:

  1. I think I saw one of these at Maclean's Mill near Port Alberni. Great images!

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    1. I also saw a picture of one on display in Ladysmith. - Margy

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  2. On several trips to Oregon, I have stopped by Camp 18 Restaurant in Eslie, OR. The owner has setup quite a collection of logging items and has a steam donkey displayed. The logging business in your neck of the woods is so different than in my neck of the woods. Tom The Backroads traveller

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    1. Modern techniques have put the donkey out of business. Some practices are the same. The mechanized machines that do it all (cut, trim branches, cut into lengths, move and stack) are amazing. - Margy

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  3. It's very interesting to read about steam donkey. It's actually the first time I have heard and seen in pictures. This post is kind of a fieldtrip for me. Thanks.

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  4. Oh, wow....loved seeing all of this. All those wheels turning etc in the video--a person would want to be sure footed working around machinery like that all day. Just amazing to watch it work.

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    1. Working in the logging industry can be very dangerous, and in those days even more so. If they got hurt out in the woods it could be hours or days before they could get medical help. - Margy

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  5. Cool! A very safe place to build a fire to warm up as well.

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    1. John got a big kick out of it. He just wished we had some hot dogs to roast. Didn't plan far enough ahead for that. - Margy

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  6. pretty amazing pieces of equipment just abandoned in place. i guess they're too remote for scrappers to try to haul them off for a few $. :)

    as for the fireman in the yard, i think those are just raised fingers on the gloves - as if the poles used to support his figure were pushed into one finger of each glove - the hand holding the flag has a finger extended,too. :)

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    1. Thanks for the clarification. It was a really cute sculpture. - Margy

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  7. Very interesting. thanks for sharing.

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  8. I really learned something from your post! I didn't even know what a steam donkey was. Fascinating.

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  9. I've never heard them called steam donkeys but they sure are neat.

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  10. I love the fire in the old boiler. We used to find steam donkeys in the woods in SE Alaska when I was a kid.

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    1. I bet. They sure had to work a lot harder then to make a living from the forest. - Margy

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  11. Great share! I really enjoyed seeing the photos and learning about these machines! Thanks for the extra effort it took for you to get there. Wonderful Rubbish Tuesday post!

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  12. What a fabulous piece of machinery and I love the name! Never heard of these before very interesting x

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  13. Thanks all for stopping by to comment on My World and my first Rubbish Tuesday post this week. - Margy

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