View Full Version : "Cruiser" Was A Logger's Dog

Bob Smalser
09-05-2010, 9:58 PM

“Cruiser” was a logger’s dog, and a tough-looking Bulldog at that. In the forests along Hood Canal where he died 75 years ago, he could have been little else, for a timber cruiser is the woodsman who ranges out ahead of a logging crew to select and mark the trees to be harvested.

His grave marker was carved from a fine plank of red cedar. Originally whitewashed to look like marble, with pine tar protecting the back and bottom, we found it in the woods near Sprague Pond some decades ago, and wondered why someone would bury their dog so deep in the forest. It wasn’t until we recently thinned the thick Huckleberry and Salal undergrowth for floral greens that I knew the answer.

I don’t know who Cruiser’s master was, but he likely worked for the McCormick Logging Company who logged this forest for the first time from 1928 to 1936, based out of nearby Camp Union. He was probably a Scandinavian who moved West with McCormick and other men of his trade from Wisconsin. I suspect he was a tree faller…and a faller from the backbreaking days of long-handled falling axes, springboards, ”misery whip” crosscut saws, and the steam-powered winches on skids called “donkeys” that moved the logs. We can still see the ruts in the ground and cable damage on the trees where the McCormick donkey was positioned next to their long-gone Shay-locomotive railway, just a middlin walk from Cruiser’s grave.

I hope that our faller and I would have been friends, and that my friend doesn’t mind that I cleaned off the old whitewash and tar, and applied the best varnish I could obtain. I hope that when this gentleman looks down from heaven, he approves of the simple stand I made to keep his craftsmanship out of the weather. After all, I did make sure it got back to where he placed it in 1936……


......where our faller buried his beloved Cruiser next to the tree that killed him.

Greg Peterson
09-05-2010, 10:33 PM
Wonderful story Bob. Thanks for sharing.

Dan Friedrichs
09-05-2010, 10:44 PM
I am always humbled by your posts, Mr. Smalser. Thank you for sharing this moving story.

Ken Fitzgerald
09-05-2010, 11:54 PM
Thanks for posting Bob! Some of the history in places and situations like that are extremely interesting.