I just spent the last two days in Petersburg which is the closest town to Wrangell north of us on the other side of the Stikine delta. My friend and tree business partner, Glen, and I took the Alaska Marine Highway ferry over there with a truck load of arborist gear and chainsaws to do a rather large job. We had to completely remove a large Cottonwood tree with three separate stems, limbed up 4 hemlocks to improve the home owner's view, and installed a non-invasive cabling system in a different Cottonwood to prevent one of the tree's forks from breaking off in the future.
I just thought I'd post a few pictures of one of the things that I do for a living here. Glen is the climber in the pictures of the big Cottonwood. I have worked with him for about 7 years now and apprenticed under him, he is a badass in a tree! He owned an arborist company in Seattle for many years before moving back up here to Wrangell and between the two of us, there isn't much we can't do involving trees.
Not a lot of room to work! We had to lower every branch and all 3 tops which was a bit hazardous for Glen in the tree and me on the ground. Cottonwoods are very brittle trees and are very susceptible to rot so they require extra care and attention. They are not good trees to have next to your house as they present safety hazards from breaking and falling branches and they make a big mess in the spring when the cotton flies and in the fall when the leaves fall off.
One top to go. The weather was constantly changing on this day with rain showers and squalls intermixed with sunshine.
From this point, Glen was able to cut chunks from the stems and then just drop them to the ground which freed me up from my lowering duties to go climb the other trees that we had to work on.
This is the cable that we installed in the other Cottonwood. This is a very strong and slightly stretchy cable made of a type of rope. This gives the tree support and the home owner peace of mind and does not hurt the tree in any way.
This is the view of the Petersburg waterfront looking at the mountains on the mainland. The impressive spire in the distance is Devil's Thumb, it is a world famous mountain and quite a challenging mountaineering objective. It is one of the boundary peaks between British Columbia and Alaska and is one the highest mountains in our area at 9,077'. This mountain in combination with the remoteness and weather of Southeast Alaska make it a very serious undertaking to climb and has claimed many lives over the years.
Petersburg has a very large fishing fleet, the second largest in Alaska actually with Kodiak being the only bigger fishing port. This is just a small portion of one of the harbors in Petersburg and the ordered chaos of fishing boats.
Getting to Petersburg from Wrangell is not a simple process especially in a vessel 300' long like the ferry that we were on. Large, deep draft boats have to go through the Wrangell Narrows which as the name states, is very narrow in places and contains dozens of navigational markers to keep vessels in the deep channel. Add in very strong tidal currents, wind, and darkness to the mix and you can understand why the captains of these ships get paid well!