So this weekend, my brother took posession of a cabin in Glacier, near Mount Baker (the mountain, not the community).
He literally picked up the keys from the real estate agent while we drove through Bellingham on Friday. We filled a U-Haul with various furniture including several beds, a sofa, a loveseat, a couple of tables, plus all the other things you need to stay at a cabin, like dishes, towels, sheets, soap, etc etc etc.
It was a long day; I got up at 8am so I could drive to my brother’s house so I could help him pick up and then load the truck. We were supposed to meet a guy from Craig’s List who had a table Tom wanted to buy, but he ended up not only arriving several hours late, but he brought the wrong table (and had sold the one my brother had agreed to buy!). So we got a late start out of town and all for nothing unfortunately. We had originally planned to leave early enough to arrive at the cabin during daylight hours, but unfortunately due to the seller’s sliding schedule and poor traffic, we didn’t get there until around 7:30 or 8. That put us well past dark and on top of that, we arrived in the middle of a snowstorm. I estimate that there was already about a foot of snow down on the ground when we arrived, and it snowed for a few hours after we arrived.
Unfortunately, this is part of the problem; on the way down the driveway to the cabin, the truck lost traction and almost slid off the road. Here’s a picture of the truck at night (it’s hard to see, but that’s the point: we couldn’t do anything about the truck itself until daylight).
We ended up offloading the truck and my car in a few hours and got most of the beds and the furniture set up. Too late did we realize that we had left a very crucial box at home: the box with most of the food and all of the pots and pans and other cooking implements. Fortunately we had some food around: some fruit, some crackers, and beer. We didn’t starve, but it didn’t make it any easier the next morning when we basically had the same for breakfast.
But there we were at about 10:30 or 11 at night, hungry, exhausted, and facing the prospect of spending considerable time, energy, or money the next day getting the U-Haul truck back on the road.
We passed an hour or two trying to get Tom’s projector to work (to get in some Playstation action), but it wouldn’t focus so instead we played some poker (I won) and some blackjack (Tom did better than I when we played against a fake house hand, but then again, he has methods to count cards).
Now, the cabin itself is amazing. It’s large: 3 bedrooms, a kid’s room, a game room (where a pool table may eventually end up), and a living room + kitchen + dining area. It’s got 2 bathrooms and a mudroom/laundry room. It’s also right near the river (the Nooksak, I believe) so at night all you can hear is the running water nearby. It’s got power & running water so you’re by no means roughing it when you stay there. I bet we could have upwards of a dozen people stay comfortably at the cabin if they were all friends. Of course that night was our first night so we were still getting used to the place, but given how tired we were from a long day of moving, we had no problem falling asleep that night.
The next day, fortunately, was clear – no snow. Unfortunately we had true ‘cascade concrete’ snow already down on the ground, which made driving the truck on its own nearly impossible. Worse, since it was our first day at the cabin, we had no tools fit for rescuing a stranded vehicle: no sand, no rope, no shovels, nothing. Cell phones don’t work at the cabin. Driving into town to buy these essentials crossed our minds but we considered that as our 2nd-to-last resort (behind calling AAA to get them to tow the thing out).
Fortunately for us, that’s when we discovered our great neighbors: Suzy & Harry who live right near us came out and offered us the tools we needed to get the truck out. All in all it took Tom & I about 2 hours of digging to get the truck out – essentially we had to back a 17′ U-Haul truck backwards up a hill in the snow. We’d dig some snow out, drive the truck backwards as far as it could go until it slid to a stop, then repeated the process. We were close to abandoning the dig at one point when we stopped making any progress at all, but Suzy & Harry came out and offered us sandwiches, coffee, and cookies, an offer too good to pass up after a night and morning of fruit and beer. Fortunately after that break we were able to get the truck out in about 30 minutes. I didn’t get any pictures of the rescue itself (I was too busy shoveling snow and ice), but our neighbors did; hopefully we’ll get a copy of those pictures next time we’re up there.
Anyway, the place is now pretty much set up for a party: 3 queen beds, 1 single bed, a living area, just about everything you need to eat & sleep & play. It’s about 30 minutes from the Mt. Baker ski resort (I think; we didn’t go up there this trip). We originally were going to go up snowboarding today but I got sick this week (I caught that cold that’s going around), so I didn’t really have the stamina for it. Oh, didn’t I mention that I was sick the entire time we were moving, loading & unloading furniture, and digging the truck out of the snow? Yeah, it was that kind of day.
The good news is that we don’t have to take a truck up there again, and my 4-wheel drive Audi made it very happily in and out of the place with no problems. We will definitely be recommending that any friends who come up to visit take their 4-wheel drive cars, or at least have snow tires.
Here’s another image of the truck during the day time: notice the turned front wheels and the furrow behind them; that’s where the truck started to slide and wouldn’t go where we were steering it. The cabin behind the truck is the Suzy & Harry’s place. The road that we had to back the truck up extends to the right out of the picture. I took both pictures from the front door of the cabin. The river is down to the left; if the truck hadn’t stopped it wouldn’t have gone into the river or anything, but certainly if an uneducated driver wasn’t paying attention it would be quite possible to drive all the way into the riverbank.
I’m sure I’ll post more pictures in the future as we begin to use the place and invite friends up there as well!