An incredible mountain legacy continues...
An incredible mountain legacy continues...
Thank you so much!
Christine, Eric, Zeke, Rich, Kenzie, Marc, Larry, Maxwell, George, Adam, Tami, Raven, Kaitlynn, Robin, and Mario
As we wind down our ski season we have many wonderful memories from an incredible winter. Lots of great snow this year! We would like to thank all our guests for making visiting. It was truly a pleasure to have you.
Now we look ahead to the hiking season for 2017. What follows are some glimpses of the back country with out snow. Dust off those hiking boots and get ready for trip planning!
Well, we bought ourselves a new snowmobile! It is awesome…and big! As you can see in the photo the back basket is huge. The machine is strong and easy to drive. It holds 2 passengers behind the driver and more! Rich was able to take Kellie and Matt along with their dog, Clover plus their gear up all at once!
During our regular season in the winter we allow dogs at High Camp midweek. We recommend skiing in from mid mountain with your dog. Not all canines appreciate a ride on a snowmobile! It is also a great way to give the dog the exercise they love as you ski up. We never allow dogs to run along side the snowmobile as we transport the owners. Dogs want to run as fast as possible to stay with their owner whether it is good for them or not. We do not want to force dogs into this desperate situation. It is also a safety matter since dogs sometimes run in front of the snowmobiles with no warning.
Back to bragging about our new sled! It is bigger, wider, and stronger than any snowmobile we have. It is the perfect fit for our transportation system. Now we all fight over who gets to drive it!
Well, it is February the month of Valentine’s Day and I have a beautiful love story to share with you. This occurred over Thanksgiving which is why the snow levels in the video are not as huge as we have now! But, no matter, it is a great story.
Gal lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When he decided it was time to propose he had a vision! He wanted to be deep in the mountains. He chose Scottish Lakes for the special moment. Yael and Gal flew into Seattle, rented a car and drove to our parking lot. Gal did not want any staff to meet them, he just packed up all that they planned to take up to High Camp and began walking up the road with Yael. She had no idea what they were planning to do or where she was headed. They both embraced the joy of the moment and walked up through the snow and cold towards Scottish Lakes. We eventually met up with them, picked them up and whisked them to their cabin deep in the mountains.
Gal brought a drone that he could operate using his cell phone. During their visit they took drone shots of their adventure….including the surprise proposal. Gal gave us permission, of course, to share this wonderful video with the Scottish Lakes community. I know you will enjoy it as much as we did.
Here is a quote from Gal:
I wanted to thank you, Eric, Kenzie and Larry for the amazing setting you provided us for getting engaged. You couldn’t have been more kind, accommodating and friendly, and the High Camp and the mountains are just stunning. Truly nothing like it. We will never forget our time up there, and hopefully will make our way back there again one day.
Well, this is all over…fixed…in the past…history! If you recall the last post on Around the Woodstove we bragged about all the great repairs we had made on the snocat. We did everything right and nothing could go wrong now.
We were wrong about that! Early in December during a deep cold spell our entire snocat froze up. There was a little water in the hydraulics and we were immobile, dead in the water. This was huge! How do you defrost a massive snocat??
Upon research and advice from many in the industry we learned we needed to tent the entire cat and then heat it up to defrost it. When the cat would run again we needed to drain and fill the hydraulic system until we were sure there was no more water in it. Apparently it does not take much to freeze a hydraulic system.
A friend who had worked in Antarctica told us we needed a heater with a blower on it. Our plan to use little propane heaters was just not going to cut it. So we rented a massive heater with 2 huge hoses that were about 10 inches in diameter, to do the job.
We bought the largest tarp we could find. Then our master mechanic Mario went after it He tented the cat using wood to suspend the tarp so it would not melt. Snow was piled around the outside edges of the tarp to create a seal.
Then we tucked those 2 fat hoses up under the tarp. It puffed up like a balloon, but held! In about 4 hours the cat defrosted. Mario quickly groomed up to High Camp and back to keep the route open during the repairs. Then the cat made its way clear down to the parking lot. Here we staged a brand new barrel of hydraulic fluid and over the next few days the hydraulic system was drained then filled until we were sure the water was out. We needed to use the heater to keep the system warm. The cold continued and we did not want the cat to freeze up again.
Of course we know that stuff happens…especially at High Camp. We sure thought we had figured everything out and that the cat would perform perfectly all season. We are once again humbled by unforeseen forces of nature. We are back on line, enjoying the snow and looking forward to the winter of 2017.
The big news of the maintenance season is new tracks for our Piston Bulley! Mario worked so hard to replace the old worn tracks with new ones. It is huge work. You unhook the old track then actually drive the snocat out of it! Then you take out many thousands of bolts, pull off the old track and replace it with new…also replacing worn bolts. It is hours of hard work!
The amazing thing is that at the end of the project I got to help hook the track back on! They needed me! When you drive a snocat with one track off and one one it doesn’t steer. We had to coax the cat into the correct grooves of the new tracks using spray oil and a come-along. It kept wanting to drive right out of the groove. Very frustrating! Using incredible ingenuity, Mario, Larry and I were able to finish the job .
Thank heavens tracks were on before the snow flew!
“It is a scientific fact,” he wrote, “that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes of an impressive character, particularly if this contemplation occurs in connections with relief from ordinary cares, change of air and change of habits, is favorable to the health and vigor of men … that it not only gives pleasure for the time being, but increases the subsequent capacity for happiness and the means of securing happiness.”*
This is a quote from Frederick Law Olmstead a landscape architect who lived from 1822 to 1903. I guess he can be forgiven for his focus on men rather than men and women. At any rate these words speak to us today as they did in Olmstead’s time. We may need the wilderness even more! As a result we have prepared Scottish Lakes for the coming winter season and look forward to your visit.
Yes, we have worked hard!
We are ready! Let it snow!
*Yosemite and the Southern Sierra by David T. Page
We recently had a spirited group of hikers visit High Camp for the first time. They do backpacking trips as a group to many wonderful locations and we had the pleasure of hosting them this fall. Besides hiking art was happening at Scottish Lakes! Beautiful watercolors. Robin was a host up there during their visit and she got her own private watercolor lesson. So much fun! Cecile Disenhouse is a watercolor painter living in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. She has been teaching watercolor painting at the Lifetime Learning Center for over three years. She especially enjoys the watercolor medium because of its freshness and transparency. It is perfect for capturing nature and so transportable. She often adds ink to a painting to enhance it.
A little bit about Cecile in her how words:
I have spent much of my life hiking in the wilderness and enjoy painting nature, especially on location. I carry a small palette, a few brushes, and some small sheets of watercolor paper. Despite the extra weight, I love to take my paints on hiking and backpacking trips in the Cascades, Olympics and Canadian Rockies. I also love plein air (open air) painting in Seattle. I find the buildings in places like Ballard quite fascinating as well as some of our Seattle landmarks such as the Fremont Troll or the Elephant Car Wash downtown.
I had an article published called “Backpacking with Paints” in the Daniel Smith catalog in Spring 2007. It can be viewed on their web site. My paintings can also be seen in the Oct/Nov 2011 issue of the Washington Trails magazine.
I had been a member of Gallery North in Edmonds for six years. I have been juried into the annual shows in Edmonds, Shoreline, Tsuga Gallery in Bothell, the Greenwood Artwalk, and Kenmore. I had a show at the Gallery at TownCenter in Lake Forest Park.
My paintings can be seen at www.jettes.org.
Thank you Cecile! For sharing your artwork with us.
Gus Bekker, a Wildlife Biologist and Forester who has been a staff person for our hiking season the last few years, is offering Saturday night talks when he is on staff at High Camp. The dates would be: August 13th, August 20th, September 24th, and October 8th. He plans to let the main topic of his talk be determined by the guests who are at Scottish Lakes that evening. He is a wealth of information and has answers to the questions many of us have as we walk the back country. The talks are one hour long and will be offered in the evening. They are appropriate for children and adults. “Large Carnivores of the North Cascades”is a look at the natural history, behavior and identification of wolves, cougars, bears, and wolverines of the North Cascades. Tips on hiking and camping in bear country, the Gray Wolf’s remarkable comeback in Washington State, the sleek and graceful cougar, the rough and tough wolverine. We will discuss how bears prepare and den for the winter, what is the difference between a black bear and a grizzly bear, how fast does a cougar run, where do wolverines sleep etc.