Cabin, December 1999

I spent December 26 to December 30 at The Cabin or on route to and from it. Jon and I blazed the trail there. Vittoria and Phil came up later. As always, it was an adventure.

As a side note I should point out that based on the request of Angela I will appear in more of the pictures. For the rest of you, deal with it.

The Trip Up (Dec 26)

Jon and I decided to be crazy and drive up and head out to the cabin in 1 day. To make matters even crazier, we didn't leave the Detroit area until noon. Meaning that we got to the trailhead around 8pm, well after dark. Of course armed with our new snowmobile, only two people (ie one trip out), and the foresight to pack lightly it turned out to be no problem. We left he sled with our gear near the trailhead. Jon parked the truck and trailer in town. I shot in on the snowmobile (without the sled) and picked him up. After hooking up the sled we made it out the turnoff for the cabin with no problems. We snowshoed a good path, flattened out the trail some more with the snowmobile (without the trailer), then brought all the gear in. We were at the cabin by 10pm, however we had a lot of work to do. The hardest part was shoveling paths to the shed, outhouse, main door, bunk room door, and wood pile. There was a lot of snow. The most that I've seen (though this was the first time I had to shovel). Opening up the cabin wasn't too hard. Fortunately there wasn't too much snow in the chimneys so we could get both the wood stove and fireplace going very quickly. We had plenty of wood (6 cords delivered in the fall) and propane (3 full tanks). It was a bit much work for just 2 people (you better have time off next year Matt) but not too bad (Jon may differ, see below). We had everything set and were ready for bed by 1am.

The First Day (Dec 27)

Me ready to ski We didn't get up very early (Matt, you better have time off next year) however we did go out skiing. Here is a picture of me near the door to the bunk room (note the lack of icicles). We use the bunk room entrance in the winter since the floor in the kitchen gets very slippery when wet. This also helps to keep the snow out of the main room.

Scenery from ski
	  trip Me pausing for a
	  photo op We started out along McCloud Grade past the Lucky Buck. Along the way we got see part of the ``natural beauty'' that logging produces (left). The snow even does a good job of making that look ok. We made it to point where McCloud grade makes a sharp turn which was a perfect photo op (right).

Jon skiing From here we followed the road for a ways. Fortunately a snowmobiler had looped back through the woods and eventually met back up with McCloud grade. Here is a picture of Jon skiing along the road. This made for a nice trip (and may have been the longest one we ended up taking).

The Arrival (Dec 27)

Vittoria and Phil arrived later that day. I made Jon go out and meet them at the trailhead. Fortunately they arrived safely. Vittoria and Phil came in with their gear on the first trip. I made Vittoria go back and pick up Jon. Everyone was safely in the cabin for dinner, wine, and dominoes that evening.

The Loop (Dec 28)

Jon spending most
	  of his time asleep Unfortunately Jon was not feeling too well the night before and it hit him pretty hard today. He spent most of his time sleeping throughout the day. It is probably more sleep than he gets in a typical week.

Vittoria and
	  Phil skiing Vittoria, Phil, and I went out skiing and left Jon to sleep. We took the loop around the cabin which isn't too long but is rather scenic. Plus, with having to cut most of the path through the deep snow it was a pretty good workout. Here is a picture of Vittoria and Phil skiing along.

Me at a closeup photo op Phil at a closeup photo
	  op We stopped about 1/2 way through for a photo op of Phil (right) and I (left). There was a little bridge here that forced the water under on one side so that it bubbled up on the other. We stopped here frequently on our trips around the cabin.

After resting and Vittoria and Phil going for a snowmobile ride, Vittoria and I decided to shoot around the loop again before dinner. It was close to getting dark and Vittoria didn't think we would make it back in in the light. Of course we made it with minutes to spare.

More Skiing (Dec 29)

Jon skiing Vittoria and I started out the next day by racing around the loop around the cabin again before breakfast. Of course, we got up late again (Matt, ...). After this, since Jon was feeling better, Jon and I decided to go out skiing again. We started by going around the cabin as we always seemed to do on this trip. Here is a picture of Jon skiing (right).

Me skiing We turned off from the normal trail and headed off along along a logging road. Unfortunately it was too warm out, probably close to 30F. Thus the snow was sticking to our skis. We spent most of the time ``walking''; instead of skiing. We were getting a lot of snow while we were out which was nice. Eventually the logging road ended so I paused for another photo op (left) before we turned back. The scenery was great even though the skiing wasn't.

Last Hurrah (Dec 30)

Jon, Phil, and
	  Vittoria by snowmobile Unfortunately we had to come back way too early. We were planning on leaving by 3pm (but read on). To start with, Jon and Phil went into town to liberate the vehicles since we had gotten a lot of snow while we were there. Phil stayed behind while Jon returned with the snowmobile.

Scenery while
	  snowshoeing Me snowshoeing Vittoria and I decided to go out snowshoeing around the cabin while Jon and Phil were gone. It was a partly cloudy day with bands of lake effect snow shooting in periodically. The nice thing about snowshoeing is that you can more easily get places that require fighting through the woods than you can on skis. We rewarded for our efforts with some great scenery. After being out for awhile Vittoria was convinced that we were lost. I don't know what gave her that mistaken impression. Within minutes we were heading back to the cabin along the path we had started out on.

Front of Cabin Back of Cabin After keeping the cabin heated for a few days the icicles really begin to grow. Even from the bunk room roof which we do not try to heat too much. With all the snow we got you can barely see where I had to climb on the roof to clear out the chimneys.

Heading Out (Dec 30)

Jon had been back for a little while before Vittoria and I returned from snowshoeing. We packed up a load of gear into the sled and headed to the trailhead. I dropped off the gear and Vittoria there where Phil was waiting with the trucks and then headed back to the cabin to get Jon and the rest of the gear. The trip was ok. The trail was very rough along Old Seney road (called Grand Marais trail in the winter) between the airport and the turn off for McCloud Grade. That part of the trip was not fun. Other than that it wasn't too bad. We still had a bit of work to do to close up the cabin so it took Jon and I longer than it should have (keep reading). Finally we packed everything up and headed out.

The Adventure (Dec 30-Dec 31, early in the morning)

As I approached the trailhead I looked up and said many words that I cannot repeat here. You see, just last September when we were up they were redigging the drainage trenches on the side of the road. It is not exactly the place you like to see your truck (notice that I wasn't driving in). Suffice it to say that a snowmobiler was involved, a tow truck had been called, and some of the locals were very hospitable about calling for a tow truck and letting their number be used for contact. Within a couple of hours the tow truck arrived and had no trouble pulling my car out of the ditch. In fact, I was grateful and impressed at how efficiently they took care of it (both the tow truck crew and the driver at the time). Fortunately there was a lot of snow so absolutely no damage was done.

We left Grand Marais around 6pm and had a lot of driving ahead. Foolishly we thought the worst was over. At the Mackinaw bridge the toll booth attendant noticed that one of the tires on the trailer was flat. It must have just happened since Vittoria and I were following behind and didn't notice anything wrong during the trip. Fortunately Jon had packed a pump that runs on power from the cigarette lighter so we pumped it up before crossing over the bridge. We stopped in Mackinaw for dinner. When we came back out the tire was low again. Fortunately Jon had some fix-a-flat so we used that and then went to a gas station to pump it up better. We drove for maybe 20 miles or so when Vittoria noticed that it was getting flat low again. I thought it would be ok, but better judgment won out. We had some two-way radios so we had Jon and Phil pull off at the next exit (which happened to be the last exit for awhile that had anything near it). We pulled into a gas station just before it was closing and the tire decided to blowout right then. Fortunately the guy at the station kept the lights on for us (and got more business because of it). He also let us borrow a nice jack that made our life easier. Also fortunately Jon had packed the spare tire and a tire iron (are you detecting a trend here) so we could change the tire. It was no easy job but between Jon and Phil (with only a little help from me) the tire got changed. Jon was concerned because the tire was a little bigger than the old one. However it worked perfectly and we, slowly, made it back. We arrived in the Detroit around 2:30am. Once again the trip had its share of problems. Yet once again everybody made it back safely and no damage was done.

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