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This page continues the story of the construction of a timberframe cabin in the Sierra Madre Mountains from the previous pages which you can access at www.mvr1.com/timberframing/timberframecabin.html.
November to January: No Trips, No Photos, Lots of Snow
That pretty well says it all, unless you check the snow monitor link on the sidebar. Almost hit 8 feet for a bit there. Of course it soon packs down. I wish those below zero patches would last long enough to kill some of the pine beetles in the area. But that would be a long shot.
I've been unable to make a trip up as yet (Feb 1) this winter, so I don't actually know how things are doing. The snow monitor is just a bit less than a mile from the cabin site. Still I wonder how the cabin is doing. I'll have to plan a trip at which point this page will get some wintry photos. My current idea is to take along a small auxiliary solar panel in case the low sun has kept the one on the tree from charging the system properly. It has to be packable given the long trek in from where the road closes. And I'll bring enough food for a night or two and lots of warm clothes.
Towards the end of February Jennifer and I did snowshoe up to check on the cabin. Even on the closed road up the snow was deep. Jenny was a trouper.
Once again our neighbor, Alfred, kindly met us up there and let us stay in his place with him on the trip. Since it is a bit over 4 miles from the road closure to his place and then another mile plus down to ours we could do the trip in stages. Given the climb up and the altitude we let ourselves break it into two trips one stage to Alfred's and another down to ours. The snow this year is over 125% of normal so far with more to come, as these photos attest.
The following day we snowshoed down to our cabin. No less snow was to be found down there than up above. Unlike last year the wind had not scoured the North side of the roof free of much snow. But the thick tempered glass storm windows held up nicely in the harsh weather. So we found this:
The main purpose of the trip was to check on the storm windows and the solar electric setup. The latter had been on unsupervised since we were last up there in October. As you may recall we had charged the batteries for a total of about 11 amp hours at that time. In the intervening 3 months we charges somewhat over 100 additional amp hours as you can read on the meter photo below. And the battery voltage was over 12 volts as it should be. While the snow on the panel initially kept it from charging the batteries any further, once we cleaned it off we got about an amp of charge even with the overcast sky. Not bad at all, given the low drainage on the system when no one is up there.
Having assured ourselves that all worked we headed out back to the warmth of Alfred's place with a few looks back at the scene below.
On the way we passed this scene which will answer any questions about why someone might need a two story outhouse if you think about it long enough. The area is famous for them with one on display at the museum in Encampment.
For various reasons, not all of them sane, I wanted to check on the cabin before the snow melted off for the summer. So I planned an early may trip, flying to Denver, driving to Encampment, skiing most of the way in, and snowshoeing the last bit. The photos below should show roughly what things were like. At the time I got there days were warming into the 40s and the snow monitor had about 8 or so feet of snow at the site. (A few weeks previous it had reached about 130 inches.) The roof was partly snowcovered, but some of the snow had fallen off. This seemed to be where the underside of the roof was exposed and the warmer daytime air had heated it from below. Over the cabin interior most of the snow was hanging on.
Sadly the snow seemed to have done a number on the chimney and chimney cap.
Still it seemed intact enough to use and I was able to heat the cabin when I was up there. I'll need at least a new chimney cap when I come back up, and possibly a new chimney section. I'll also need to think about how to secure the chimney against sideways snow pressure without giving the snow even more to attach to.
I spent a couple of days at the site, including much time shoveling snow, including shoveling snow on the roof. I was basically able to walk up there from the snow around the cabin. From there I could check the chimney a bit more closely and then shovel. After a day of shoveling things looked as depicted in the photos immediately below.
Since this trip the snow monitor shows relatively rapid melt off. But not just that. There also seems to have been some rain, and then further snow as late as May 22nd or so. Thus there are at least 6 feet remaining near the end of May. It will be interesting to see what things are like when I get up there again after a month in Jerusalem. It seems like things won't be drivable until much later than last year.Back to Index of the Timberframe Cabin pages. Back to first Timberframe Cabin page (April-August 2006).
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