Sunday, January 3, 2021

Guard Station Getaway!

My covid bubble buddy and I struggled under the weight of our overnight gear and skis strapped to our backpacks. The promise of a pulk to haul in our stuff had not materialized when the pulk was not to be found. So we were hopelessly unbalanced and praying that the 3.5 miles into the forest guard station we had rented were not all uphill.

We had turned a lot of ideas over in our heads. Our original plan--to hike 100 miles of the Arizona Trail--wasn't looking so good. In the spirit of going where we could on one tank of gas, I perused recreation.gov for alternatives and found this sweet little cabin.

We arrived at the snow park to find that we couldn't quite drive to the snow park. Having paid for a snow park pass, I was annoyed by this, but the warm weather and lack of snow had contributed to icy ruts that were not navigable. Skiing didn't look so good either. Visions of having to snowshoe the whole way in, skis clanking overhead, went through my mind. Fortunately, about a mile into our slog the snow improved enough to ski. (If you haven't skied with a huge pack and snowshoes, you haven't yet experienced the balance and skill it took not to fall over.)

The guard station appeared on top of a large hill. It was three rooms, perched on top of a canyon. The setting was magnificent. In summer, you can drive here, and I imagine it is a busy place, but for the two days we stayed here we didn't see a soul.

People don't know it, but these guard stations are a great getaway on the (relatively) cheap. We paid $100 for two nights, and that got us shelter with a propane heater and lights, much better than trying to camp in the bitter cold. We could melt snow for water on the stove and there was even a refrigerator (not that we needed it). We skied in both directions from the cabin and attempted to find the trail that went into the canyon. If there was more time, we could have done some long loops.


One of the days, it got warm enough that we dragged lawn chairs outside and sat in the sun. The snow wasn't perfect--in some places it had baked to an icy sheen, which challenged our ability. But we could see a hundred miles to the south, and the sunsets were a blaze of fire across the sky.


"I could easily stay another night," I said, perusing the contents of the cupboards. People had left soup, and, inexplicably, dry shampoo. I knew someone else was skiing in the next day, so occupying wouldn't work, but it didn't hurt to imagine staying forever.








15 comments:

  1. Wow beautiful place and awesome view I definitely could spend days there just taking in all God’s country. If I were lots younger I too might venture out & explore. Lol but I’ll just take your word for it and live it thru your eyes. Haven’t stopped by to comment in awhile, our world has taken a nose dive since I last made a comment. Stay Safe .... Bert From Bama

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    1. Welcome back! Hopefully you survived the nosedive without too much trouble.

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  2. So glad for you that you found this fabulous cabin and had just the best break away. Love it!

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    1. Yes, I was randomly and somewhat desperately trying to find something exciting. Luckily I found this!

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  3. This looks wonderful! Glad you had a getaway!

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    1. It is on the Umatilla, you turn on the Cloverdale road in Asotin. So probably we could see your property.

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  4. What a find! After hauling skis on my pack, I appreciate your comment. Of course xc skiing isn't really in my bag of tricks either. I'd just as soon snowshoe the 3 miles. Wonderful views and open skies for colorful sunsets and sunrises. LOVE this escape.

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    1. I bet you would like xc with the right conditions. But snowshoeing is more relaxed for me, no worries about falling.

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  5. What a beautiful place! I'd say totally worth the slog with skis on your back. Happy 2021.

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    1. Yes, I hope to do more of this local stuff as time allows.

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  6. Oh wow!!! How absolutely fabulous! A great cabin for shelter (and yes much better than camping in the snow) and what awesome views!!!!

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    1. If you have a national forest near you, I recommend looking for one of these!

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  7. Great photos...imagine a cabin with heat and furbabies. Glad you and your friend had the getaway in such a beautiful place. Long views...what were they guarding from there?

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    1. I think it was there to work on trails. There is a fire lookout not too far away, too.

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  8. lways have to post a comment, I cant help it ! Thanks Sarah
    Thealth and beauty care

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