Every log has its "ride". A "ride" is the side on which the log settles itself, as it is pulled along. Even when the log is put in the mill pond it will still hold itself in the same position, that is, it will stay on its "ride". The man who made up the load had to be able to recognize the "ride" of every log. Otherwise a load of logs would twist and turn, and probably uncouple the chain and pull out the "dogs."
The suglar accompanied [the team on] the road to the mill. He rode the first log and dropped the chain as needed. There was a peg on the log to hold the upper end of the chain. He also helped string the chains on the logs and connect the couplings. The chain that he handled was called the rough lock.
The rough lock was a heavy piece of chain. It generally had a trip link which held the chain in a circle. A rough lock was usually needed when the load started a steep down hill pull. Then it was dropped over the end of the first log to hold the logs so they would not run over the bulls. At the bottom of the hill, when it had accomplished its purpose the link was tripped and the loose end pulled from un¬der the log. If it became fouled, they used a shovel to dig it out. (Shovels were always stored at the steep down grade area for this purpose.)Some rough locks had no trip links and would have to be dug out from under the log. In this case the pulling chain would be unhooked from the bridle, the rough lock thrown back on top of the log.
If this were the last steep place the rough lock would be left, to be picked up on the return trip. The pulling chain would be hooked back in the bridle and the team continued on its trip.
In each logging camp there was a sniper. He had a broad double-bitted axe called a sniping axe. It was usually at least eight inches wide. At the front end of each log he would make a forty five degree cut clear around the log. The purpose was to prevent it from catching the cross skids and pulling them out of their beds. At times, he assisted the barkers in removing limbs from the trees.
Skid roads were not put in for the entire length of the haul, but used only where needed. Often at the head of a very steep gulch and the bench beyond they would have "yard¬ing" teams and they would pull the first log, just to where it would not go by it¬self. Then they would bring up the next log, and generally, with the third log, they would bump the other two logs, but not enough to start than moving. When the entire load was made up, they would generally find a place where they could place the team at one side of the logs and probably hook near the middle of the load and start it, just enough so that it would start down the incline by itself, and the hook would automatically come out. When the load got to the bottom they would be bunched together end to end, and that would be close to the skid road, where they would have some skids reverse to the road,; but parallel to the logs, to get them up on the road. The fact that they were bunched made it easy to get them on the skid road as they would move one at a time. If the logs were "stretched" i.e. the chain stretched tight between each log, it was difficult to start the load down the skid road.
The broad axe was frequently used when the team would have to stop. Every chain would be stretched out tight, at a time like this. In this case, jack screws were absolutely necessary. The Suglar and the Water Slingers were usually expert jack-screw men. They could take the lead tog about three-fourths of the way back and lift it with the jack screws, with the slant toward the back. If this did not start the Jog back, they would use the peevey (it had a long iron spike in the end). It could be used as a bar at the front end of the log. This would generally move the log back eight or ten inches. This would be repeated once, and the second log would be handled in the same manner, but would not be moved as much. This would leave a little slack between the first and second logs. The third log might have to be moved once. This was just to be sure that there was a little slack between each log. As the logs were raised, the water slinger would throw an ample supply of water under the log. With this slack the water slingers would take their positions along the rest of the road. As the Bull Puncher started his team, they would throw water at the front end of each log.
On a real long skid road, any place that had a fairly good down grade, the bull punches would stop their teams for rest, even if their logs were "stretched". If they had a long level place to pull, the team would have a longer rest than on a down grade because a team was never stopped on level ground, unless there was an ob-struction.
Contrary to most stories of bull teams, all skid roads were not down hill. At Garcia Mill, one of the skid roads logged down river from the mill, therefore the logs had to be pulled up hill to be dumped into the pond above the mill.
During the first threat of a storm, the slash or false dam, which was about sixteen feet above the regular dam, and extended the length of the pond about a mile and a quarter, was removed.
The up-hill logging was necessary at this time to keep the mill in logs, after the false dam was removed.This same method of up-hill logging was used at Lee Gulch on the Garcia. The skid road left the creek bed and took a gentle up-grade to get height to dump the logs into the river.
Rolling Brook, a tributary of the Garcia, had four skid roads. The main skid road had four branches on it. It ran back at least three or four miles, and it was probably the highest dump known. When there were several teams on a branch, like at Rolling Brook, the teams were timed so there was no blocking of any team.