Made the trip down to the cabin on the 14th with Dean and Jake and the roads were terrible. Icy and slick and blowing snow to make it all so much fun to drive on. Well we made it down to the parking area around 1:00 PM. Oh yeah, Rose’s café in Healy has a great breakfast.
The trail in wasn’t broke open, so Dean as our fearless leader set a track in through a foot of nice powder. It really was a nice ride without any loads. After Dean made a pass with his Bearcat, Jake followed with the M6 and I followed him with my Bearcat, so after one run we had a nice track set, just a bit rough. Dean’s second run included a groomer we made and brought in to leave at the cabin.
After the trail was smoothed out we packed in the 2×6’s for the second floor, firewood, and barrels of fuel. Guess I should explain, the cabin was originally built with a 12 x 20 foot loft, however as our future plans have changed I decided to extend the loft all the way and make it a second floor. So we now have 960 SF of living area. The new area is going to be a great bedroom or maybe it’ll be the entertainment area for the TV and Inet J Not sure just yet.
We also had about ¾ of a cord of firewood to haul which we started doing on Wed and Thursday. Friday Dean and Jake began work on the loft extension and I hauled firewood, that’s a lot of wood to haul with an Otter sled, but it’s all in and stacked. Along with the 60 Gals of gas and 55 gal drum of heating fuel.
Friday and Saturday were construction days. Dean and I (mostly Dean) framed up the floor and Jake worked on the electric (that is getting a couple more lights working on the second floor) and tying in a new breaker for the new area. We originally figured a day to frame the floor, but as things go it took us Friday and most of Saturday, of course not starting until noon might have helped put our timeline back a bit, that and a small hangover.
Dean and Jake left around 9:00 AM Sunday, yeah I know, early. So I was now on my own and thought I’d enjoy it a bit and work on the trail to the water hole, a little spring about a mile away that has great water. Well it snowed all day with a 20 to 30 MPH wind and visibility was zero, so I decided to relax for the day and deal with it on Monday. Ha, it continued to snow all night as well and by 9:00 AM Monday I had another foot of fresh snow. Humm, so I’ve got to get a trail open to the water hole and the truck so I could make it to Wasilla Tuesday to get the materials to start our Renewable Energy System, i.e. solar power for electricity.
As it turns out Kim the local resident (den mother would be a better name) was thinking about us and getting to the water hole as well. So she calls and we agree to meet up and break trails. She’d start from her cabin and head to the water hole and I’d start from ours. She made it most of the way and then disconnected the trail drag she was pulling and left it on the trail. I meet her and we headed to get the drag and more trail broke open. Ha, she missed this one turn and got her Bearcat stuck, hey, no biggie, I’ll set a track next to her and will get her out. Dang it, so after I got stuck, right next to her we dug out the shovels and 45 minutes later we’re back in business.
So six hours later the trails are all opened and ready, well sort of, one small issue with the dog gone wind, still blowing 30 mph and filling in the trails. Kim and I tried to get to the parking area by going over the top or S pipe as it’s called. It’s the hill just north of the cabin and clear of any trees and yup blowing wind that turns into white out conditions is not what I call fun. About half way through I stopped and looked behind me, our tracks were gone as fast as we made them. OK, plan B, take the lower trail, yeah I have more than one way in and the lower trail works, it just adds a few miles to the route out. And the wind was still blowing but we got a track set, or so I thought.
Tuesday morning early, I have to be in Wasilla by 10:00 AM and it’s a 120 miles south and the roads are slick and the wind filled in the tracks set Monday, so it’s 6:00 AM and I’m headed out. The trail was OK, windblown but no biggie really as I could see the outline of the trail. The biggest pain was arriving at my truck and finding it and the trailer buried in 24 inches of snow. After getting my morning workout I took off and made it to Wasilla by 9:30, not bad.
I then spent 3 hours with 907Solar and the owner Coley, great guy and excellent service and help. He and I put the Inverter/Charger together and he walked me through the configuration of the system to add the batteries and solar panels after I buy them. This is a piece meal project, just don’t have the $9,000.00 to do it all at once. So Inverter/charger first for $4,000.00 then the batteries next and then solar panels. After I get the batteries, next purchase, I can use the generator to charge them and the Inverter to run the cabin on the batteries. Not the best solution, but it’ll work until I get the solar panels and reduce my generator use from 24/7 to about 2 to 3 hours a day at most, maybe even less.
A nice evening at the cabin watching the wind blow off the mountain tops and fill in the trails again. But it was a productive and enjoyable trip, wish I didn’t have to come back to the rat race. Soon, oh so soon until we move.
Next trip I’ll bring in the 3/4 plywood for the sub-floor and some flooring to finish up the second floor and move the bedroom up stairs.
If you look at the photos below you can see the wind blowing the snow off the mountains tops.