Thursday, January 26, 2012

You Gotta Love It!

Well, it was one of those days that the mountain bit back.  Big winds!  Big snow! The groomer part is in, but in Yakima!  Don drives to Yakima to get it from the repair shop.  I pick up 3 hearty souls to come up to High Camp for three nights.  Shauna, Jeff and Max are a delight.  We drive up into the teeth of logging traffic pulling over as four differen loaded trucks drive past on their way down.  The loggers are behind too and their road grader went down.  So a narrow road with very few pull outs.  I guess this is the time to plug the old chained up Suburans that relentlessly get us up the mountain in just about any kind of weather.  We make it five miles up the road to mid mountain...but the snowmobiles cannot make it down.  The road is drifting out as soon as Rich and James dig it out, an exhauting ordeal.  What to do?

For our happy, resilient guests there is no issue.  They pull together, gear up, and set off to ski the last 3 1/4 miles to High Camp. Knowing they won't see the rest of their gear until Friday they carry as much as possible.  In 2 1/2 hours they are moving into their cabin, settling in for a weekend of awesome skiing.  Because...  that is what it is all about!

This doesn't happen often...but when it does happen the High Camp staff is stretched to the max!  We survive these times because we work with the GREATEST GUESTS EVER!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I can't believe I forgot to tell you about the ermine we saw as we snowshoed during the Shackleton Expedition!  It looked just like this one.  The little guy was running on top of the light deep snow at Windy cute!  Just seeing this animal in the wild during our arduous trek to High Camp brightened our day and gave us positive energy to move on.  It is also called a stoat, but I like ermine better!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shackleton Expedition!

10 degrees and a ton of new snow made for an epic Wednesday adventure for Don and I with Zeke and Matt.  We had to break a trail to High Camp!  The snow was deep and the groomer was sick.  We really took good care of our Piston Bully this year, but alas, things still go wrong.  Snow fell most of the day, our drinking water froze.  It was one of those awesome, edgy outdoor experiences that put a smile on your face.  The snow was so deep the snowmobiles got mired almost immediately, so Don and I snowshoed a track...we slowly progressed up the mountain gaining 1200 feet over 3 1/4 miles.

The trip was only 3 1/4 miles since they are logging out the P road and our route is plowed an additional mile beyond our normal mid mountain transfer point.  So we drove our chained up Suburban 5 miles, then dug out the snowmobiles and got on our way.  We made good progress ahead of the snowmobiles.  When they caught up with us they turned the heavy machines around and drove them back down. to firm up the track..  Sometimes they zoomed past us as though they could make it no problem, only to be stuck in the deep snow just a little ways ahead.  We were able to set a track clear up around Windy Corner, exposed and challenging as always, so the snowmobiles could get to High Camp.  Matt and Zeke drove like professionals.  The trip took 3 hours of deep snowshoeing and digging out snowmobiles, but we were successful and the route to High Camp is open!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pillie Power

High Camp Host: Max Pillie
Well, let me introduce you to marvelous Max!  He can fix anything.  He repairs things at High Camp that we did not know were broken.  When Max is on staff his to do list is a long one and High Camp improves with each visit!  One of the biggest contributions from Max is our solar panel system.  He installed panels outside the lodge and has a power bench with batteries for power storage.  It works great!  We depend on the system now for our communication.  It powers the radio and charges cell phones... a great improvement!

Solar Panels on the High Camp Lodge.  Power Bench below.

Marvelous Max snowmobiling at Windy Corner in the winter.

Max getting a well earned rest as he fishes at Loch Eileen in the fall.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Foundland New Years

These are the memories Don and I had of our Newfoundland New Year's Eve Party.  We celebrate at 7:30, which is midnight in Newfoundland!  That works best for guests who ski hard all day or those who want to party into the night with their cabin mates.  It was great fun.  Don and I ski all the way home after the party, usually leaving High Camp about 8:30.  We have done the night ski for probably 15 years and look forward to it each time.  The route is familiar and needs only a headlamp.  The stars were amazing.  The slip of the moon lay  resting in the night sky.  New snow made the descent speedy.  When we hit our plowed road, half way down, it had iced up.  We traveled at lightning speed...barely in control, the cool night air refreshing us as we went. There is truly nothing like the feeling of speeding down in the dark cold night with snow laden trees whipping past on either side.   We skied past our neighbor's cabin aglow with Christmas lights and into our backyard.  Once again ringing in the New Year in High Camp fashion!