Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/15/06

1/17-19/06 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

There was snow on the roadway all the way from Skykomish to the property. I arrived at 1:50 and discovered that Mike had not plowed the driveway. It took me 45 minutes to shovel out a parking place through 14 inches of new snow. I was very happy to see the new snow because of the upcoming scout visit. The weather was clear with some sun breaks. It was so beautiful that I had to take some pictures.

I used the snowshoes to break trails. Then I had lunch and carried my gear to the trailer. I also carried a bunch of gear to the cabin in preparation for the scouts. I measured 33 inches of snow on the ground where the scouts were going to camp.

Snow had been sticking pretty bad to my shovel when I shoveled out the driveway so I took it into the trailer and waxed it. I hold it over the gas burner as if it is a frying pan and melt a lump of paraffin in it. With the shovel all warm, I move it around so the wax gets all over it and then I just let it harden as the shovel cools. That treatment typically lasts for a year of shoveling snow.

On Wednesday it was clear again and 31 degrees. Perfect weather. I made some more snowshoe trails to the compost pile and the woodpile. Then I shoveled out one side of the woodpile so I could get the tarp loose and get to the wood. I used short bungee cords to hold loads of wood on a sled and I hauled 8 sled loads of firewood down to the scout camp area. I stacked it under a tarp down there. In the process, I happened to see the 14 inch snow load come loose from the big roof of the cabin and come roaring off. It's pretty awesome and fun to see that.

After lunch, I made snowshoe trails to the spring and to the little tree I had transplanted up there. The chicken wire I had protecting it was bent over from the snow load so I straightened it up and bent it out of the way so it wouldn't hurt the tree. The tree looked nice and healthy with about a 10 inch new growth spurt sticking straight up. I made a trail from that tree down the property line. In the process of making the trails I got lost at one point and made a dead-end spur trail. It is amazing how disoriented one can get in the winter when the deep snow makes everything look different. I had gotten lost inside of one of the loops of the trail.

When I got back, I hauled two more sled loads of firewood down to the camp area.

Shoveling and trail blazing are pretty hard work so I was overheated even though it was 31 degrees and I never had on more than just my shirt - and pants, boots, and hat, of course. I was very tired by the end of the day.

On Thursday morning, it was 28 degrees. I built a makeshift floor in the crawl space to make it safer for the scouts to walk from the door to the stairway. I did some more organizing and cleaning to make things finally ready for the scouts. It started snowing pretty heavily when I left for home at 1:50.

1/21-22/06 The Boy Scouts from Troop 100 spent the weekend camping and playing on the property.

The bus and 4 cars easily parked in the nice space Mike had plowed out. There had been another 10 inches to a foot of new snow on the ground since I left. There were 11 adults and 15 boys who spent the night. There were a couple more parents and some more boys who left before nightfall. Most of the parents who stayed slept in the cabin. The boys pitched their tents down where the log pile had been. One boy slept in a snow cave they had dug.

Everyone had a great time as far as I could tell. The snow was deep enough to cover the cliff in front of the cabin so the boys played all over it. The scoutmaster cooked a couple of great meals for us in a makeshift kitchen out on the porch. With the chairs Joe had given me there was plenty of seating inside for everyone to eat comfortably.

I lead three of the dads on a snowshoe trip to break the trails to the spring again and I promptly got lost about 50 feet from the trailhead. This time I wandered out into the Forest Service land. When I finally realized that I didn't know where I was at all, we followed a ravine downhill and after a time arrived at my spring. Once more, it utterly amazed me how quickly and easily one can get lost in winter woods. Once I was on the trails again, I managed to stay on them from then on.

That visit by the scouts will go down as one of the most pleasantly memorable events of my life. It was as if all the hard work of building the cabin paid off in full in just those two days. It was so gratifying to see the boys romping and playing in the snow from the moment they stepped out of the bus, and hearing the sounds of delight coming from them as they threw snowballs, dug their snow caves, cooked their meals, pitched their tents, walked up and down the trails, drank hot chocolate, dried wet boots, and all the other activities that just went on spontaneously. It was great. I hope the troop decides to return for many more outings up there.

Before we left, the boys did a good turn for me and spread a lot of planer chips over the trails. That made it a lot safer and more comfortable to carry all the gear back from the cabin to the bus. We left for home around 11:20 so we could get home in time to see the kickoff of the Seahawk's game.

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