Rock Lake – June 2017

We took a few days leave to explore the Cabinet mountains and get a feel for the Thompson Falls area. The northwest part of the state has had some appeal to us for years – ever since we were in North Idaho. After spending two days in the area, we really weren’t as impressed as we would have wished. The mountains are very neat. The Cabinets are much wetter than our local stomping grounds, recieving 2-3 times the rainfall. There are several mountains and lakes on the list to explore in the future, but not top of the list.

Rock lake trail was interesting. The trail began as a logging road being reclaimed by the bear grass and huckleberry. Two old structures have been abandoned, then reinhabited by not-so-friendly pack rats. It smelled awful.

Along the main creek alongside the trail, Brandon spotted a suspicious mushroom down the bank. Upon close inspection, it was an oyster mushroom – a forest delicacy! It was fried up the next night over our usual campside pencil fire.


The logging grade then cut off on another hill and became a single track. The grade can be seen on some of the far mountain sides on the below pictures when looking at nearby ridges. They’re hard to see, but they’re there.


We stayed on extra night on some state land being logged. We found a tight little turnout, out of the way and enjoyed a slow evening and some fir needle tea.


Hogback Ridge – March 2017

The Sapphires offer a great deal of relatively untouched outdoor adventures for those interested in things other than huge rock faces and saw-tooth batholiths. Only a few miles to the north of our valley is Hogback ridge, a Forest Service plunder. Originally homesteaded in 1913, this fascinating spot along the river is 90% of what I would love to see in our future forever-homestead: huge open fields, well-running and secluded creek with no neighbors above, and tall hills on all sides with a nice view to the south. I can only imagine what it must have been like in its prime a hundred years ago.







Skiing in Denver – January 2017

With almost two-weeks off over New Year’s, we paid Matt a visit in Denver. We took an hour drive northwest of Golden to Brainard Lake, an “ultra-popular” ski and snowshoe area. After navigating two-hundred of our closest friends, we started off on a ski-only trail that weeded out those of the snowshoe persuasion. Unfortunately, it only took fifteen minutes for the dogs’ feet to get too cold on the icy trail. We turned back to the crowd and left them in the car this round.

A frozen pond along the way called for us to see what it had to offer. Since we skied on a lake, even though it was frozen, can it still be called water-skiing?

Once back to the apartment, we took the dogs out again to a near open-use butte. It was a pleasant get-away from the 3-million people to the east with the Rockies fronting the west and the Coors factory tucked in on the south.

December 2016

Winter came quick this year. Only one month ago I was making my way back west for Thanksgiving and it was 50’s and pleasant. Today, we are huddled by the stove to keep sensation in our fingers and toes at -10F. We skied the half-mile to the mailbox yesterday. Even that was enough to cause our digits to go completely numb. We now have 18” of snow on the ground. The sun only appears for two-hours a day.

After renting a room in town for nearly a year and a half, we are wholly moved out the property. By cutting our expenses in half, we no longer have the need to work full-time. By cutting our need to work full-time, we are able to spend the extra hours building the cabin and adventuring. Our relationship was founded on adventure. It is time to get back to basics.

Until the cabin is finished, we continue to live in the 19’ Mallard camper. We are approaching the three-year mark we call this plywood box home. It is a bit cramped, to say the least. I will do a more detailed explanation of how we perform different tasks.

We have spent more time below zero than above it for nearly two weeks. Highs sometimes reach the teens, but that is short-lived.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.


October 2016

We are again in a great, albeit stressful, point at the homestead. We complete one project – recognizing the obstacles that we have overcome and see with our eyes what we have built – but are  constantly reminded of how much more work is to come.

Winter is near with freezing nights and brisk days. To finish the foundation for the walls before the deep freeze of winter is becoming rather uncertain.


October 2016

I do not remember if it was a math error or the change in plans that caused this, but after the conex was dropped we noticed a problem… The height of the box was a bit taller than the frame. Just a bit.

Being the skilled country engineers that we are, we devised a system to reduce the slope and allow us to keep the roof in continuity over the width of the container.

Although it did cut the slope in half, we are confident that the increase snow load will not be a problem. Snow will stay on the roof unless pushed off, but snow is a great insulator, right!?!

With more than 200 linear feet of 1 3/4″ planks cut, the o56 has been a champ – despite eating through its starter rope.

The roof is about 80% covered currently in planks. After it is finished this weekend, a support will go under the section covering the container. That is the only stretch that will require additional support with the change in slope.

Following this step, the synthetic roofing paper will be laid, then the metal will be purchased!

The roof ought to be completed by November, at which time we will set up forms for the concrete wall foundation.