Ye Olde Grader

April 9th, 2016 in Around the Woodstove

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When we first bought Scottish Lakes High Camp the transportation system used 1 snowmobile and 1 snocat coming in from the parking lot clear up to the camp. It was a long snowmobile ride and an even longer snocat trip all the way up the 8 1/2 road. This worked because we had very few guests who were hardy, spirited with a great sense of humor. We usually just made one trip a day, 2 at the most.

Well, our system is much more refined now. We entertain hundreds of hardy, spirited guests during each winter season and run  up to 6 trips a day. We are able to do this because we pay a company to plow the first 4 miles of the road using their road grader with a wing, then snowmobile in the rest of the way. This system is efficient, safe and gives us an opportunity to bond with the guests in the suburban on the first half of the trip.

We just met with our plowing company to discuss a major problem they are having. The road grader that they use (and we helped them buy) is aging and needs a new engine. The fix is very expensive and of course, during the repair other issues will probably come up for this old machine. At any rate, they plan to sell the grader at auction. We are left with the huge challenge of figuring out how to best clear the first 4 miles of the road.

The grader with a wing is the best system. The clearing can be done with front loaders, but there would need to be many more trips since they can’t handle the snow depth. This will be the fall back we are hoping we don’t need to depend on. We have researched outfitting our Suburbans with tracks: $40,000 for each vehicle. We would need at least 2 sets, a huge investment that is not proven to work. Snowmobiling from the bottom would work, but it is a long distance to travel and managing the melt-out in the spring will be hard. If conditions are challenging or there are mechanical issues you are on your own! We just need a grader for the months of December, January, February and March. We even have a driver in the area who does an outstanding job. We are looking into renting one but they are hard to come by.

So, say good bye to the old grader. We will be working towards a solution to this problem. We welcome any ideas you might have…just email us at