Cabin, March 2020

The Beginning

Another winter trip by the gentlemen. The trip was rather late in the season, but there was plenty of snow on the ground and there was no reason not to go. Heading up, none of had any idea how the world was about to change. But before we get to that, the Cabin was occupied from 5 March to 11 March. The trip started right before my spring break and was planned on the usual gentlemen's schedule: Thursday to Sunday. Unfortunately, I had to get midterm grades in so I could not arrive until Saturday. On the other hand, I had the next week off so I could stay longer!

The (now) standard group of winter gentlemen came up on Thursday. Briefly, Ed, Mike, and Jon left Kalamazoo Thursday morning around 5 AM. They had their usual breakfast at Shirley's along the way before meeting Bill at the Park and Ride near Indian River to make the final part of the trip in a single vehicle. They got back on the road around 11 AM. We were once again able to park at Ballard's right at the trail head. It only took one trip to bring everything in. They got the Cabin open and set up.

The weather was good, not too warm and they even had clear skies. The usual activities were pursued: snowshoeing, skiing, and Euchre. This included a ski trip under the stars!

Saturday, 07 March : My Arrival

Cabin on my arrival early in the morning. The guys had been there for a few days already.

I came up as has become the standard for me. I drove from Cleveland starting Friday evening, drove through the night, rested in Seney, arrived at Ballard's, and started skiing in at about 5:50 AM. The sun had not quite come up, but with a headlamp it was no problem. I had left my sled at the Cabin on the previous trip, so I only brought in the gear I could carry in a backpack. I did not bring in the extra stuff the guys had requested (Doritos and maraschino cherries). It is much easier to haul gear with the sled than it is in a backpack. The ski in was fine, taking about 2 hours. I had told them I was going to do this, yet, they were still somewhat surprised when they finally got out of bed! They did not even have breakfast ready for me.

Ed, Mike, and Jim stopped on a snowshoeing trip with Jon in the background. What used to be the beaver pond along the loop while snowshoeing. Jim snowshoeing along the loop. The group snowshoeing along the loop.

It was getting warmer, and we took advantage of the good weather by snowshoeing the loop. Much Euchre was played, a pasta dinner was made, and a pitcher of whiskey sour was consumed. We went to bed somewhat early, but it had been a long day.

Sunday, 08 March

The rest of the guys packing up to leave.

The rest of the guys departed on Sunday. A quick pack up and a bit of cleaning got them on there way. They were able to haul everything and everyone out in one trip. I stayed behind for a few extra days of rest.

The Cabin on a beautiful day. I pulled out the rocking chair to do a little reading in the sun. McCloud Grade near the Cabin. Scenery near the Cabin.

The day was sunny and rather warm. In fact, it was so warm that I took a rocking chair outside to spend some time reading in the sun. I also wandered around a little to get a few shots of the lovely scenery. Overall it was a rather warm day so not too much was done.

Monday, 09 March

Monday was even warmer and overcast with the threat of rain. Although the rain never materialized, I remained around the Cabin and took it easy throughout the day.

Tuesday, 10 March

Bridge over Harvey creek along the "big loop". Bridge over Harvey creek along the "big loop".

Tuesday started of with much nicer, colder weather. I took this opportunity to go out cross country skiing. For a little while I toyed with the idea of doing some off trail exploration. However, the bent trees noted in the previous trip made this very difficult and not much fun. Instead I stuck to the trails, mostly along "old 443", the fork to the right off of McCloud grade.

Wednesday, 11 March : Departure

State of the woodshed at the end of the trip.

The night before I had gotten as much as I could done to close up the Cabin. Since I was skiing out I wanted to get as early a start as I could, but I did not push it too much. I did get to use the sled again for the trip out which should have made things easy. However, the day started with some light snow that continued for a few hours. I thought this would be nice for the ski out, I was terribly, terribly wrong!

The snow was somewhat wet and clung to the bottom of my skis. This meant I did more walking than skiing and the walking was extra difficult due to the heavier skis. It was not until about the last mile when the snow stopped and I could actually start skiing. Once that happened the trip was great. It was a very difficult trip and was followed by the long drive back to Cleveland.

As always the trip was great. As can be seen from the woodshed we have burned through a lot of the pile during the two winter trips. If it were not for the new, efficient insert I fear we would have had to ration the wood at the end.

Little did we know that the world would change during this trip. It was during this time that Covid19 hit the US hard and caused upheaval. Part of the reason I left on Wednesday instead of staying a couple more days was to get back and assess how things were changing. There was a lot of uncertainty at the time, a lock down was put in place, I had to transition to remote teaching, etc. It was rather ironic that I was leaving one of the safest places I could be, alone in a remote Cabin, to head back to the virus ridden world!