Pick Up Sticks

October 30th, 2012 in Yesterday

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In 1994 we leased Scottish Lakes High Camp with an option to buy. It was 1995 that we officially became owners. Marc and Linda Wells, our original partners, and Don and I decided to celebrate Thanksgiving together that year at High Camp and at the same time do some much needed work to the cabins. We did not open to guests in 1995 until December and there was a lot to do to prepare.

In 1995 we were the proud owners of one snowmobile. Rookie owners and rookie snowmobile drivers! The learning curve was straight up! In those days we all worked at regular jobs on the west side of the mountains, so we were not able to head up to High Camp until Thanksgiving Day. We drove over the pass that morning and loaded up the sled with our overnight gear plus “Thanksgiving in a Box!” from Albertsons. At least we had the good sense to buy a prepared dinner. The four of us were in a festive mood as we hopped on the snowmobile and began the 8 mile ride to High Camp. This was way before we cleared the first half of the road for driving….it was snowmobile all the way!

Conditions were early season deep powder snow with no base. The route to High Camp was untraveled. We rocked and rolled up the mountain with Marc driving, Linda and I on the seat behind him, and Don riding the gear sled. Marc used his race car driving skills to negotiate the winding route. We were full of the joy of back country ski resort ownership and newly emerging snowmobiling skills. We were on a grand adventure! Progress was slow and steady and our hopes were high. We had given ourselves plenty of time to get to High Camp, move in, and prepare for a festive Thanksgiving celebration.

All went well for the first 6 ½ miles. Then as we rounded the bend toward what we now call Windy Corner, we were shocked to find our way blocked by 20 to 30 fallen trees! We did not despair! We had a chain saw with us…by chance! We never really were totally prepared, but we got lucky this time. The area above the road had been recently logged, exposing smaller spindly trees to the roaring wind. No longer protected by taller, stronger timber, they had fallen across the route like “pick up sticks.” Marc operated the chain saw and Don moved the trees as we blazed our way through the mess slowly and methodically. It took some time. We stopped for sandwiches prepared and served on the snowmobile tarp. We could see good progress and felt sure we could make it to the lodge in time for our holiday celebration. Finally after a couple of hours our route through the maze of tree trunks was open. We repacked the sled and merrily jumped on the snowmobile to finish the trip.

The day was mild and the late afternoon view was beautiful. We felt capable… proud of our efforts to bust through. Nothing could stop us now! Marc took the snowmobile up around the big hairpin turn and as we gained the rise above the turn our smiles turned to perplexed stares as we approached an identical stand of trees that had fallen, blocking the route. This was the beginning of a major High Camp lesson. You never have everything under control! There is always something round the next bend that you never thought would happen!

In another couple of hours we had once again cut a swath through the jumble of trees and once again were on our way. We reached the lodge and finally sat down to our Thanksgiving dinner about 8:30 pm. Starving and exhausted we enjoyed a wonderful feast. We fell asleep early that night… knowing that we could not predict what tomorrow would bring; and that whatever happened we would face the challenge with perseverance and a huge dose of positive energy. For this we were all thankful.