Alta Backcountry

Cleaning and Wood Stacking

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Our home base, the village of Eldora, Colorado looking west. Our cabin is one of those down there in the valley. Above and beyond lies the Continental Divide, with 13,397 foot tall South Arapaho Peak being the prominent sharper peak on the right side (north) of the horizon.

I figure this as a good a time as any to start writing again. The news outlets have gone full-bore with Coronavirus information, and I’m hoping this will be a nice simple outlet for folks looking for something different. It might not be very exciting to many, as it’s a simple journal about daily life at a cabin in the Rocky Mountains at 8,800 feet above sea level. But, perhaps it’ll be a nice reminder about things in life other than Coronavirus. I won’t artificially ignore the virus, as I suspect it’s going to be part of our everyday life now. But, it will not be the focus of this journal.

Up at 6 am to stoke the fire and brew up a nice cup of hot black tea, steeped five minutes to perfection. There is a predicted storm moving in this evening that could drop 10-17 inches of snow, hopefully the good kind, wet at first and then nice and dry afterwards. That type of snow makes for good, safe skiing. The wet snow clings nicely to the surface of the old, firm snow, and the soft top provides for great powder. It’ll be a much needed reprieve after the long three week warm spell we’ve experienced thus far in March. If I didn’t have a weather forecast though, I’d never know a storm was rolling in, as it’s sunny, windless and 34° this morning.

First things first. With the impending storm, there is work to do. We’ve got a cord of wood pilled up in my driveway that needs stacking, and another cord that I’d at least like to get cut today. My wife Elaine is planning to make this a cabin cleaning day, which seems prudent given the current situation. More significantly, our home is downright delightful when we tidy it up, and it’s easier to think absent from clutter. Simplicity and clarity is good all the time, but especially during times like these.

We’ve got quite the rowdy coyote pack frequenting the valley. They provide a nice alarm clock at 4 am, starting off with one individual giving a long, almost wolf-like howl, followed by a whooping chant of various pitched howls that carries on for a few minutes. Perhaps they’re celebrating a kill of a snowshoe hare, or maybe they are just enjoying the night. Whatever the reason, I like the coyotes and hope they stick around for the spring and beyond.

Wood stacking is good physical labor, and it’s nice to have the company of the birds along for the job. Lots of nuthatches, chickadees, finches and juncos frequenting the feeder these days. They will only grow in number and variety as we progress deeper into spring.

woodpile

Went for a lazy ski up-and-down Crag Mountain to get the body moving and enjoy some nature time. The snow is holding up remarkably well despite the consistent warm temperatures. From an overlook, we could see clouds building up over the Continental Divide, a hopeful harbinger for the storm to come.

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The Continental Divide was looking good this morning.

It feels good to restock the woodpile. This whole business of taking wood out and not putting a deposit back in has left me feeling uneasy for weeks. The pile was getting low. We’re now good to go if this spring turns into anything like last year, where cold and snow lasted well into early-June. While I stacked wood and re-organized the ski room, Elaine cleaned the cabin, using lots of Lysol to make things spick-and-span.

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The temperature this evening has cooled dramatically and it feels like moisture is moving in.  40° after clicking up near 60° earlier today. Clouds are dipping into the valley and it’s beginning to feel like winter again. A far cry from last night, where we had a brilliant sunset to end the day. This evening is more steely grey.

orangesky

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4 Replies to “Cleaning and Wood Stacking”

  1. I enjoyed your writing. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts. It is interesting reading, and also a relaxing distraction from current events. Thank you!

    Like

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