September 28th, 2014 in Yesterday
Many people believe that High Camp runs on duct tape…or baling wire…but they are wrong. Scottish Lakes High Camp runs on propane! That has been the power of choice since Bill and Peg Stark’s time. When we purchased High Camp there were propane lights in the cabins, but they were not mounted on the wall the way the fixture’s are now. There was a 20 gallon propane tank in each cabin with a pole lamp extending up from the top of the bottle. They just stood on the floor where there was really no room, we just tripped over them all the time. Another propane bottle was used to run the propane burners on the stove. You can imagine how many tanks we had at High Camp…at least 2 per cabin plus extras, so probably 20 -25 propane tanks. It worked just fine except when the tanks ran out of propane.
Usually a tank would run out in a cabin at night, or during dinner. The cabin would either be plunged into darkness or dinner would just stop cooking! A guest would run down to the lodge and a staff person would grab a full tank and lug it up through the snow to the cabin with the special propane tank tool to make a quick, efficient transfer, so order could be restored.
In the early days we operated primarily in the winter, so when a tank ran out we sent the empty down on a snowmobile then drove it to the nearest propane dispensary and refilled the tank. We brought the filled tank back to the parking lot and sent it up to High Camp on a snowmobile. This system was extremely labor intensive. I remember holding propane bottles in my lap on the snowmobile as we careened up and down the mountain. As the business grew and we entertained more guests we realized we needed to change the system.
So, we dug a huge hole between Trillium cabin an Bluebell and sunk a 1000 gallon tank into the ground. That tank supplies propane for the lodge, Lupine, Bluebell, and Trillium. We also purchased a 250 gallon tank to supply Paintbrush and Columbine plus 3 three 100 gallon tanks for Huckleberry, Gentian and Larkspur. There is another tank for Foxfire that I think is also 250 gallons. Each fall we wait until just about the last minute before the snow flies and we call the fuel company. They send up a massive propane truck! The same driver has made this delivery for many, many years and he knows that road well. It takes him a long time to get to Scottish Lakes, but he fills all the propane up and we are good to go for an entire year.
It is just so easy and convenient now! How quick we forget the many hardships faced in the early days of Scottish Lakes. It is important to pause and be thankful for all the improvements we have made along the way!