From the Woods –– Willie “Shot Gun” Nobles #2

True Tales of the Timber Industry as Assembled by Cynthia Anderson

This week “Shot Gun” Nobles continues to tell us about the reasons he enjoyed working in the logging industry.

I found an old trailer in
downtown Dobbins. It was
about 50 feet off of the road and
if you hadn’t walked near it, you
never would have seen it. I was
driving Fred Adamson’s truck
and John Behrend was loading
all this stuff.

He told me, “Hey,
Willie, let’s go walk over here.”
I looked at that trailer and said,
“What the hell, I want that!”

He said, “You come back with a
trailer and I will load that up on
you if you want it.” I asked Mr. Engersoll, who owned the
property, and he told me to get
it out of there. So I got it and
took it down to Fred Adamson’s
house. At the time we wanted to
make an old logging truck, and
that would have been the dolly
for it. We never did it, and we
ended up selling it to a guy in

Robert Ingram was the forester
for Sierra Pacific Industries and
he told me that there was about
one and a half million board feet
up at Four Trees. He figured
that we had a couple of months
there, and Jerry Jenson was
there. There were four trucks
working that job and we hauled
four loads a day from Four Trees
to Quincy off of Bucks Lake Road. They had a nice new road
to run on and at least three to four loads were three and four-
log loads. It turned out that they got about three million board
feet from that sale and it took us
most of the summer.

Water Tank on Trailer

Those were beautiful logs. I
think that was the best wood I
ever hauled. It was Ponderosa
Pine and Sugar Pine there.
You know how you tell the
difference between Ponderosa
Pine and Jeffery Pine? You
smell the bark, and Jeffery Pine
smells like vanilla. We were a

Steel spikes are the trailer’s “Cheese Blocks”

little lower than 5,500 feet, and
White Fir runs up to about 5,500
or 5,600 feet in elevation. After
that you run into Red Fir or
Silver Tip that has the purplish
red bark. When we would get a
load of Red Fir, it was light, real
light, and we could just pile it on
our loads. The bark is very soft
and when we would get a load
of it, the wrappers would just
dig right into the bark. Then you
try and pull, but you have to flip
your wrappers all the time.

When we were working in the
woods, you didn’t have the fires
like they have today, because
we kept the fuel ladder down to
a minimum. The only reason I
took a picture of that helicopter
is that Columbia Helicopter
bought it from Donald Trump.
I think he could make a great
President if they give him half
a chance. The reason they don’t
like him is because he isn’t a
politician and is a businessman.
Our stock market is up by a ton.
I just wish that Donald Trump
would quit tweeting and get
down to business.

The helicopter that Donald Trump sold to Columbia Helicopter.

About 1978, when I was
driving number 4 for Robinson,
one of the other drivers and
I had to meet at the yard one
morning. We had to go to Hell
Hole when Hubert was working
over there. When we got there,
they loaded four logs on each
of us, great big stuff like that
first load I mentioned. It was the
most rotten stuff I have ever seen.

I said, “Wait a minute, what is
going on here?” We hauled those
logs clear over to Cloverdale.
They peeled the wood for plywood. There was a guy in
Sattley who bought all of that
stuff and he got pure moulding
out of it off the outer side of those
logs. Do you know how much
moulding costs, for God’s sake,
even then? It was thousands of
dollars a thousand board feet!

We would haul one load each
day. We would go from Grass
Valley to Hell Hole, get loaded,
come back through Marysville
to Nordic Construction, top off
our diesel tanks, go in south of
Willits. We went through this
little town and onto Cloverdale.
That guy was licking his chops
when we pulled in!

That stuff was just cream of the crop stuff.
There was another mill in Sattley
that would do the same thing.
He would tell us to bring it in
and he would take it. He would
smile clear to the bank when we
came in with those loads. If we
had a log that was six foot, you
could see right through four feet
of it because it was rotten in the

I got to know a guy who would
come from the Georgetown area
driving a little truck that had just
enough power to come up Chili
Bar. Whenever we would get to
the passing lane, I would blow
right by him. That guy didn’t
care, because he made pretty
good money with that little
old truck. You never see that

Some of those logs they really
had to work at getting loaded. I would see Guy Eddy
with his little 950 just on its nose
half of the day trying to get that
stuff loaded. Oh God yeah!

When people asked me what I
did, I would tell them that I was
a logger. Their reply was, “Why
do you do that?” My reply to
that was, “Because I am having
a whole lot of damn fun.”

Little yellow truck  
hauling logs into the  
Camino saw mill.

I would ask them “What do you live in?” A lot of them would just shut up. I ask them, “Do you live in a wood house?” Anything—I don’t give a  damn what kind of house it is—it has wood in it somewhere.  

I had a huge snag up at Hope Valley and there is some big stuff up there. I had a three-log load there one day. You know, where Highway  88 and Highway 89 meet, Dick Hufford was running that job up there.  It was on private property and we were logging it. He put two half-ass,  two-and-a-half-foot logs on the bunks and he told me he wanted me to  pull ahead, because, “I have to get ready for this.”  

I thought, what the hell has he got here? He had the biggest 32 and  he had to lift one end to get it on my truck! He put it up and I had to back  under it and he set it down. Then he went to the back and pushed it on  my truck. When I got to Loyalton, I was a little bit over. Ray Saari worked  at the mill and he said “Holy shit, Willie, where did you get that?” I said,  just tell me how much this is. It took him about three minutes to figure  it out, and there was 8,600 board feet on that load! That was a huge log. Usually that bigger stuff from up that area has all kind of cracks and  wind check in it, but that log was nice and clean. Oh God, yeah!  

You know where Moscow Meadows is? It is on the Southeast end of  Jackson Meadows Road, kind of up in the Meadow Lakes area. We had  some pine from up in that area that we could make logs out of the limbs  of some of those trees, they were so big. When they are sitting on the  ground you can see that they make a 16-foot long log. What the hell is  going on here? We were logging the limbs. You never see that! 

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