After a month away, it was an intense and satisfying return to the Lodge. Flipping the switch between winter and summer has never been as abrupt and defined as has happened this year. I started my first shift of the 2016-17 ski season in, appropriately, a snowcat. Plowing the remaining snow off the thinner parts of the road to open truck access to the Lodge. Once that was done I switched to excavator to tackle the deeper and tighter sections, connecting the dots late Saturday afternoon. Today (Monday) there are already dusty sections on a road that was covered in snow just three days before thanks to some seriously warm temperatures blanketing the region. Creeks are up and what’s left of the winters bounty is rapidly making it’s way downstream.
Now that winter is over, the pace of life in the mountains has returned to a more enjoyable level. While the views are as spectacular as ever, I particularly enjoy the solitude and silence that pervades the entire site. Inside, the hum and beeping of various machines and fixtures that aren’t normally noticeable become a comforting background soundscape. While outside, the twitter, buzz and whistles of local forest creatures form a symphony all it’s own. Which is awesome except for those little flies that look like wasps but are non-biting, there’s a ton of them this year and they’re just as annoying as fuck… But I digress.
Aside from working my ass off to get the road open for a couple of days (and there’s no shortage of ass to work off, believe me), it was an awesome first shift. Going from “man of leisure” mode to spending a solid three days in the operators seat of the cat and excavator kind of kicked my ass. Got ‘er done though… On another note, I particularly enjoy the random folk I run into on the road to and from, and especially those that actually stop and visit, the Lodge. Not a lot of traffic mind you, just enough to keep life interesting. I had my first MTB crew of the summer show up, the day after opening the road, looking to ride Cherrytops to Shannon Pass. “You might find a bit of snow on the trail in places… If you’re still keen, I’d love to know how that turns out for you…” was my tongue in cheek advice. They wisely opted to put in at a lower elevation!
Now, I’m back home, ready to work on my own shit again. Fixing the front stairs and installing all the lovely new parts for Fritz that arrived just as I got home (Thanks Deb! You and Loomis rule!) This is my mission this “weekend”. Really looking forward to it!