Early February, 15 below (Celsius) near Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, and nothing is out of the ordinary for Greg Munden and his log-hauling fleet.
“It’s our peak logging season right now and the cold temperatures make the roads better and more uniform,” Munden says. “It’s still very challenging to work in sub-zero temperatures, with three feet of snow on the ground – especially when temps dip below -20 – but our guys can handle it. We think they’re a cut above, and the hardest working drivers out there. They are a special breed, able to handle the weather and road conditions. They have to constantly chain up, and be razor-sharp when driving ice-covered logging roads. It’s not easy.”
Munden’s president of the company that was started in 1966 by his grandfather, moving to Kamloops in 1986. Today, the third-generation logging company’s running a fleet of 14 KWs, the latest four T880s spec’d with 550-hp engines, 18 speeds, tridem drive axles, severe weather insulation packages and other features as the company transitions from the T800 model. The trucks thrive in off-road log hauling, carrying up to 97,000 lbs. of logs on stake/quad-axle trailer combos. Combined gross weights go as high as 140,000 lbs. under provincial regs. Munden uses about 40 percent of the trucks “to move the logs we cut in our own logging operation,” he says. “The others are on contract with other logging operations. In logging you’re looking for durability and reliability. We’re deep in the woods – some of our runs are up to 100 kilometers off-road from load-out to the mill.”
Munden works the forests 10 months of the year and the log trucks average up to 120,000 kilometers (about 75,000 miles) per season. “We can’t operate in April and May due to the spring break-up — the roads are just too bad,” he says. “But this past fall, the roads couldn’t have gotten much worse. The amount of rain we had was something and we often had to chain up to handle the mud. Even with chains we had to be pulled up some inclines by skidders or other equipment. But in the woods, you have to keep going. My dad used to say, ‘you never get back the day you don’t haul.’”