Monday, September 17, 2007

Fall Moves On

Over the Labor Day week, the Lawson family from Omaha visited us. Five of them with guides took a day trip down the Granite River. Over the years this has been one of their favorite trips, as is the case with many other guests. Usually the Lawsons are here during blueberry season and there are lots of blueberries down the river.

On this trip they found that the water levels were unbelievably low. The third portage down the river is the Pine Lake Portage of about 100 rods. Their canoes drifted into what appeared to be a grassy area. Lynn Lawson was in a canoe with her husband, Rick, in the stern. She stepped out of the canoe and I will let the following pictures tell the story of what happened.

Even getting Lynn out of the muck proved to be a project. She had nothing solid beneath her legs to push on. No one could get in to help her because they would just sink too. Eventually they cobbled together a log and another canoe to pull her out. Luckily, Lynn is a really good sport.

Since their visit we have had lots and lots of rain. As a result water levels are now back to normal. Bruce and I took some people over to Little Rock Falls the other day. In spite of the aftermath of the Ham Lake Fire, standing at the top of the falls is still breathtaking. We look forward to watching the forest re-grow. We also look forward to wonderful blueberry picking over the next few years. The second portage on the Granite River is not called Blueberry Portage for nothing.

As I mentioned before, the creek in between Cabin #3 and Cabin #1 is now flowing again. It is such a mild looking creek that guests have trouble believing the problems it can create. Every winter the creek freezes over. But more water continues to run over the frozen ice until the entire little valley is filled with ice over the bridge and almost up to the stairs leading down from Cabin #3. We often have to stop using the path until spring melt.

Originally Bruce’s mother, Justine, built Cabin #2 right along the creek. After all what is nicer than to hear the creek burbling along at night? Well, this ice build up happened then too. Old Cabin #2 was rocked and rolled every single year by the ice.

When it came time to replace Cabin #2 with Cabin #2/9, Bruce was determined to not have the cabin shifting every spring. As a result he dug 36 post holes for the cabin to sit on. Cement pads were poured in the holes and block posts (all carefully leveled) went on top of the pads. They were also located further away from the creek but, as it turned out, not far enough away.
Even this new cabin got caught in the ice build up from the creek. Ice moved the supporting posts and the cabin every spring. Several years the ice even flooded into the cabin itself. Eventually, the spring twisting and turning wore out the cabin. It was removed and the present Cabin #1 (set quite far back and above the creek) replaced it.

Don’t try to understand our numbering system for cabins from the above little information. Into the early 1960’s, the cabins were numbered pretty much in a straight line from west to east. Then we started adding and replacing cabin. The old boat house became Cabin #14 where Cabin #6 is now located. Somehow Cabin #15 got added to Cabins 6, 7, and 8 in the Trading Post building on the west side even though the last cabin on the east was #12. Then things got really messed up as we took out buildings and replaced them.

The question arises as to why we didn’t just renumber everything in order again. It sounds like a logical thing to do. The problem comes in when you call to make your reservation for Cabin #9. Did you want old #9 or new #9? For several years after renumbering, this conversation is replayed over and over. So we took the easy way out and our numbering is not completely in order. In fact, we skip a few numbers (12, 13, 14, and 15) in the middle. Some resorters who may be smarter than us just give their cabins names.

On another note, we did finally get our frost. It took out much of the garden. Bruce managed to harvest most everything. We have piles and piles of squash – acorn, spaghetti, and butternut. They will all get used in the lodge kitchen over the winter. He has 15 5-gallon buckets of tomatoes to ripen in the green house. Anything that you order with fresh tomatoes in the dining room will be really good for the next month or so. The unused tomatoes will be frozen for winter use.
Traditionally we have always known that a frost can come anytime after Labor Day. These last few years it has been October before the first frost. Things are back to normal this year. In fact, with the frost we also got snow flurries. Perhaps this means lots of snow this winter. One can only hope so.

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