Cabin, August 2002 (Log Book)

Reproduced below is the log book entry from the first day of the trip. I have made very minor corrections/clarifications in square brackets. Otherwise it is as found in the book. The horizontal lines show where page breaks occur. The placement of the breaks was done for "dramatic" effect when I wrote the entry. Keep in mind that I wrote it in one sitting as stream of consciousness.


In the planning stages this trip was a grand two week expedition with the intent to perform the Herculean task of replacing the walls in the kitchen. Indeed it has become clear that this task is even more essential. In the end I ventured up on my own. As it turns out it is fortuitous that I made this expedition. It is assumed that there will be no red pens nearby when Amelia reads this ....

Originally I intended to arrive early afternoon on the 31st. Due to a comedy of errors entirely under my control I did not arrive until about 1 AM on the 1st. It is of some academic interest to speculate on how the subsequent events would have unfolded with an earlier arrival. Alas we shall never know. Hopefully the current tale contains enough drama to forestall the need for further speculation.

Aug 1 (Thursday)

The drive up was uneventful. I saw a number of deer on M-77 north of Seney. Naturally coming in past Nawakwa at this late hour I encountered no one else on the road. In fact, I saw no tracks along Old Seney and none along McCloud Grade suggesting few others had passed this way. This is not surprising given the recent rains that would have washed out any tracks. Regardless imagine my consternation when I pulled up to the kitchen door and found it open. Not ajar, but open!

Now I recall Jon locking the door when we left from snowmobile camp. Indeed I have photographic evidence of the event. Although the photographs was posed it did predicate the actual event. After pulling out a flashlight I faced the daunting task of surveying the situation. I had come this far there was no turning back. quick glance confirmed that the lock was still in place; the latch had been pulled from the door! The screws were still on the floor of the kitchen. The screen door showed no signs of damage nor did the wood door have any scarring, except for where the screws had been pulled out. Later examination showed that the catch for the handle bold was also loose, perhaps indicating that the handle was not turned while the latch was being forced. This by itself is not surprising since the handles has a tendency to spin freely unless turned with care.

Upon entering the cabin I noted that the door to the upper cabinet where the plates are stored was open. I quickly verified that the Tofurky box was still intact and, finding it so, breathed a sigh of relief. In fact I found no signs that anyone nor anything that could have forced the door open had been, nor currently was, inside the cabin. This is the most perplexing part. How did this happen, when, and by who/what? I could not, and still cannot, answer these questions. Finding nothing else out of the ordinary I began the standard process of opening the cabin.

With the gas tank in place a more thorough walk through turned up surprisingly few signs of mice. But (at least) 2 bats were not happy to have so many lights on. Since I cannot "screech" at the appropriate frequency to communicate with the bats I had to suffice with opening the screen door in the kitchen so they could fly out. They did not seem inclined to use some other egress. Though it is possible they had used the hole in the screen door and lack of any other door as a means of entrance, this is unlikely given their subsequent returns.

With the bats temporarily gone I moved my stuff in, swept up, and girded for the inevitable battle with the refrigerator. Battles with the "fridge" are legendary. Typically the lesser warriors fall by the wayside and it is left to the master, Jon, to tame the beast (ie. get it lit). Alas Jon was not available for this battle so, as usual, it ended in a rout. Fortunately whoever designed the fridge had the brilliant foresight to put the drain for the freezer above the "Odds and Ends" tray so the remaining ice could be used to keep things cool without creating a big mess.

At about 4:30 AM I was too tired to continue so I turned in. I was still wired from the initial state of the cabin so it is not clear when and how much sleep I got.

Finally giving up around 9:30 AM I got up. I had no mice in traps I had set and (at least) 2 bats had returned. A further attempt to get rid of them led to them probably hiding somewhere else. I could not track them by myself so I could not find where they were entering from. After another futile attempt to tame the fridge it [became] necessary to get guidance from the master.

On the drive into town I had my first unambiguous bear sighting. Near the Tin Shack a medium sized black bear wander[ed] onto the road, stood there, then ran into the woods on the other side. There were a couple of downed line in town from the storms that have been coming through. Sadly no contact with the master was achieved. It was windy and started to rain so I did not stay in town.

Upon returning to the cabin still no mice had been caught, the bats were happily roosting, and the fridge was as uncooperative as ever. Heavy rainstorms with lots of lightning came through. I somehow managed to fritter away the afternoon. It was nice sitting there through the storms not having to worry about the electricity going out ....

After the storms passed another trip into town and the requisite knowledge was passed from the master to the student. Within a few minutes of my return to the cabin the beast was tamed. I shall include the relevant details here. Hopefully this will help others and be one less task Jon is REQUIRED to perform.

Using the requisite technical terms here is how on can tame the fridge. The important elements are the toilet paper like tube with the mushroom on top on the left side of the fridge. They point into an open cylinder behind them. When lit the flame shoots from the toilet paper like tube into the cylinder. The mushroom is a thermocouple that controls the flow of the gas. When heated sufficiently it lets gas flow. So, the important point is to heat up the thermocouple! This is accomplished by lighting the ignition tube and keeping this going for a long time (minute or more). I recommend using the channel locks to hold it open. You can usually see when it is lit. You should check it periodically after first lighting it. The thermocouple may cool quickly and stop the flow of gas. Relighting it seems to fix this. So ends the words of wisdom. The mysteries of the Universe always seem obvious once explained.

After dinner the mice arrived. I caught a couple in the bunk room, albeit separated by a couple of hours. While taking care of the 2nd one, shortly [after] going to bed, imagine my surprise to see a small gray squirrel jump from a bunk and disappear into the main part of the cabin! Not at all what I needed after coming down from the shock of my arrival. Needless to say it [the squirrel] didn't entirely leave my life (or so I surmise) and it lead to another restless night.

So ends the first day.

[ The rest of the log is not included here. There was nothing to compare to the first day of excitement. ]

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