Saturday, November 26, 2005

I've been away for a bit. Thanksgiving and all that, but I also went up to the cabin for a couple of days. The wife and the Bear rarely go up with me, but Snake Eater, Jr., enjoys it there as much as I do and always goes.

The cabin was built in 1924 by the hunting and fishing club of which I'm a fifth-generation member (the familial connection may go back further, but the documentation I have covers four generations prior to me). They built the cabin after years of hauling tents onto the mountain by horse team. It's all a bit quaint--the club is limited to 25 members because that's the maximum party the state will allow in a deer drive. It's also said that the cabin sleeps 25, but I've never counted beds. The second floor is just an open bay with beds, but in truth, a lot of guys sleep draped over couches on the first floor as well, so just how many can sleep there would be open to considerable debate.

Last weekend was our annual fall cleanup. The ground the cabin occupies is on a 99-year lease from the state, but the lease is subject to annual review. In the course of the review we can be gigged for poor maintenance of the cabin and the surrounding 100 feet as well as whether the outhouse meets aesthetic standards. A few years ago the state required that all of the cabins replace their old outhouses, which had cinderblock cisterns which leached into the soil (hey, bears do it, too) with impermeable fiberglass holding tanks. Fortunately we have several contractors and their employees in the club--no problem. Well, they replaced the old outhouse with a commercial-type fiberglass "Port-a-Pot". Turns out the Port-a-Pot wasn't aesthetically pleasing, so we had to build a new outhouse as well as take down a tree the ranger had marked for us.

Most of the guys in the club live 20-30 minutes away, so they rarely spend the night there. I live about 3 1/2 hours away (more if I head up on a Friday evening), but what's remarkable is that they feel the same level of stewardship that I do. I'm fifth-generation, few of them can approach that, and I come from far away and it's in their back yards. Yet they feel as strongly about it as I do. I'm very confident in the future for the club.

Given all of that, not many guys sleep in the cabin these days, yet the few who do offer endless entertainment. If I haven't been slamming adult beverages I tend to be an extremely light sleeper. Well, I slept little at the cabin. At least two of the guys are going to die of sleep apnea. Another guy has an occasional wheeze that sounds exactly like my daughter crying. Brought me to a sitting position three times in one night. The remainder just saw wood like Paul Bunyan. Brought me to the point of drinking in self-defense.

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