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Stevens Lodge Weekend

 

January 6-8, 2006

 

Daniel and I spent the weekend playing in the snow at the Mountaineers Lodge at Stevens PassThe highlights of the weekend were sledding up and down the cat track and building an elaborate snow fort.
 

We drove up on Friday night, so we could get settled in and ready to play the next morning.  Arriving after dark, we wandered around till we found the right cat track climbing uphill to where the lodge was hidden among big trees..  Then we hauled several sled-loads of gear up to the lodge and settled in for a fun weekend.  From Saturday morning onward, a steady light snowfall blanketed the area.  We stayed through Sunday morning, when we had to leave for Daniel's afternoon basketball game.

The Lodge
 

In the lodge, the main floor held the kitchen, dining room where we enjoyed lots of good family-style meals.  And it had the lounge areas, where I read old climbing magazines while Daniel played with the other kids, and we all warmed up with hot chocolate and tea.
 

The upper floors of the lodge were dormitory-style bunk rooms.

 

The bottom floor included drying rooms, which we used often to dry out our clothes as we went in and out of the snow.  And it had a ping-pong table, where Daniel quickly learned to play.

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Daniel at the Snow Fort outside the Lodge

 

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Hot Chocolate

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Meal Time

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Bunks

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Ping Pong

 

The Snow Fort 

 

The kids worked Saturday morning and afternoon to build a snow fort outside the lodge.  Excavations were impeded by a hard ice crust about a foot below the surface, but they persisted. 

 

First they dug two tunnels upward into a rise in the snow.  At the same time, we dug a pit for the main keep downward from the top of the rise.  Eventually the tunnels met and connected from above and below.  Then many kids worked on cutting blocks to make a fortified archway over the main entrance. 

 

Finally the kids spent the evening packing snowballs to arm the fort.  After dark they had a snowball fight with kids from another lodge.

 

The final fort looked almost like a turtle's shell, with tunnel holes for the legs and the arch for its neck.

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Daniel Outside the Completed Snow Fort

 

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Starting the Tunnels

 

 

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Finishing the Arch

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Digging downward from the keep

 

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Bringing More Snow.

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Inside the Archway

 

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Gaining Speed

 

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Take-Off

 

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In Flight

 

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Crash Landing

Sledding

 

A curving cat track led from the parking lot up to the lodge and then higher up through woods on the hillside.  Daniel took every opportunity to go sledding on it.

 

When we arrived on Friday night, he did a few short runs on the road near the lodge.

 

On Saturday morning , while building the snow fort, Daniel tried a few narrow runs between trees above the road.

 

Later in the morning, Daniel and some other boys dragged their sleds high up the hill to a steeper section.  They used a natural hump to build a ramp for jumping.  With each run, the sled track became faster and the landing zone became beaten down, so they became totally airborne and made some hard landings.

 

After dinner, Daniel brought along his shovel to groom the sled runs.  Long after dark, he and kids from the lodge next door made long runs from high up the hill down to their lodge.

 

When we packed our gear on the big sled to depart on Sunday, Daniel rode alongside on his small sled.  He practiced spinning around and around as he made runs down the road toward the parking lot.

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Sledding through the woods

 

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Ready to groom the route

 

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Sledding through a tunnel

 

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Tranporting gear to the car

 

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Totally Airborne

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Happily Exhausted on the Snow

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