Remote Challenges

(Note: For those of you following our blog, please take note. Although we will continue to update this blog, the newest post will always show up on our website first. Therefore, for the latest, go to Elk Lake Resort's website and click on 'what's up'.)

(Photo is of 2007 summer crew) One issue which any small business owner faces, but seems to challenge small, remote business owners even more is finding and hiring good employees. We've had one of those years. Some years its easy. Some years its a challenge. This year has been a challenge year.

The funny thing is, we've had some good candidates apply. But, one additional issue small, remote businesses deal with is housing issues. Okay, so I've got a good prospect. Where are they going to sleep? To combate this issue, we've tried to attact workampers - folks who have their own living quarters - typically an RV.

But, there's another twist to the problem. Since we generate our own power, we have limited extra power. So, in the past we've also tried to hire a couple. That way we could have two people in one RV. But, this year that just hasn't come to pass.

In fact, we've struck out THREE Times. Three times we've had a good couple. Someone we felt would enjoy working here - enjoying being here - and whom we would enjoy. Three times we've been within a couple of days (at the most) of offering them the job. Three times something has come up which changed their mind. How many times can you strike out? Well, this year at least three!

On the other hand, we still have four really good options for employees - all singles. This means MORE housing issues. So, now we get to try and make this work. Two of the singles have their own RV - obviously putting them to the top of the list. But, with three employees needed this year, we're talking three RVs. So, now my poor hubby is scratching his head trying to figure out how to power three RVs and the resort!

None-the-less, if it weren't for the challenges, we wouldn't fully enjoy the easy decisions - like whether to ski or snowshoe on such a gorgeous day. Or how long to wait before trying to take a picture of the lunar eclipse occuring just outside my window.

Boy, some decisions in life are so hard!

Lady of the Lake


Family Adventures - Why We Need Them!

One of the benefits of resort living is the variety of people one gets to meet. Not only are they from every corner of the globe (or so it seems), but each person is unique. Of course some are opinionated. A few are downright difficult. But, that is not the norm.

Most of the people we meet are relaxed and enjoying life. They are where they want to be, doing what they want to do. The only time we see a cloud cross their countenance is when it comes time to say good-bye.

Our guests, by and large, are friendly, open, honest folks who love life. In a world where people rarely look one another in the eye, where it is uncommon to know your neighbors, where we rush to and fro with little time to interact, our guests relish the chance to relax.

More and more families are working to rebuild this 'something' we have lost. More and more researchers are showing the benefits of doing so, and the real dangers of ignoring the problem. For more on the issue, check out my article on the benefits of a Family Adventure Vacation.

We get to see the metamorphosis in progress. Here it is not uncommon to see folks, who moments ago were strangers, visiting, laughing, and making plans for an excursion. While many of our guests are friends, returning for a few days to visit, some are strangers when they arive. They don't stay that way!

That is one of the major benefits of a small resort. If a guests stays longer than a day or so, we have the opportunity to visit. They learn a bit about our lives, we are enriched by a glimpse into their lives.

Isn't that the way it used to be? We may not have made friends with a families from England, or Italy, or Florida, but we knew our neighbors. We dined together; laughter and stories flying freely across the table. We strolled together; Mom and Dad holding hands while the kids scampered or ambled nearby - maybe a friend or two in tow. A family vacation included all the family enjoying an outdoor adventure toghether. Many of us grew up making those memories.

Somewhere along the way, we've lost touch with something important. Something you might call 'family glue'. We've lost our trust. We've lost touch. We've lost the ability to slow down. To enjoy a sunset. We've lost the time to watch ducks on a pond. To wonder at moose grazing in the willows. To delight in a coyote trotting across an open field.

In the end, I think we've lost ourselves. So, when our guests leave walking a little slower, talking a little more, laughing with abandon and pausing to enjoy the wildflowers nodding in the meadow or the silver aspen leaves fluttering against a robin's egg blue sky, we know we're honored to have been part of the change!

Lady of the Lake


Defying Gravity

Does anyone else ever feel an urge to defy gravity? I'm not talking about jumping off a tall building. I'm speaking of something more like diving into the depth of a vast blue sky. Or sailing on an eagle's wings.

I can't remember a time when I haven't yearned to 'experience' nature's richness and depth. Here at Elk Lake Resort I've had many opportunities to scratch the surface.

However, after a winter filled with snow - blowing snow, drifting snow, softly falling snow, snow so thick you can hardly see out your window - yesterday dawned bright, blue, and beautiful. The quintessential 'perfect' day.

It was one of those days when the view out your window is so intense it creates almost a physical ache. It was one of those days when I wanted to 'experience' the grandeur.

Why? I don't know. What made Wilbur and Orville want to fly? What made Ben Franklin want to 'know' lightning?

I don't expect to hear of an anti-gravity patent coming out soon. Until it does, I guess I'll just sit back, enjoy the view, and thank God I'm alive!

Lady of the Lake


Don't Try To Run If Your Shoes Don't Fit!

I was cross country sking a couple days ago. The weather was turning nasty so I hurriedly put on my gear and headed out the door. I hadn't gotten out of the yard before I tangled up my skies. I didn't think much of it until on down the trail it happened again.

Wondering at my sudden clumsiness (consider I hadn't had that problem once prior this season), I looked at the skies. Well, guess what? Yep, I'd grabbed the wrong skies. In fact, I'd grabbed my husband's skies (same brand but about a foot longer). No wonder I felt like I had duck feet with monster popsicle sticks stuck to them!

It got me to thinking about life. How often do we find ourselves trying to 'make it work' while we wonder why it's so hard. For me, the problem is often perspective. And, perspective you can change.

Take the woman who came in for lunch yesterday. She was so upset she could hardly eat. In jerks and starts we got the story. She had a severe fear of uneven ground - sidehills. Well, with the wind this winter there are enough side hills around to make even an average rider nervous.

Needless to say, she was trying to run in shoes which were too big. Of course from my position I say 'what's the big deal?'. However, having faced fear a few times myself I am a bit more understanding.

What does this have to do with Elk Lake? It may not seem like much, but I think a lot. After all, living out here it often feels like we're wandering around in someone else's shoes.

Daily life puts us into uncomfortable positions. Positions which challenge us - and often make us wonder, metaphorically, where we got these lunkers on our feet.

So my point - when life throws you size 15's - stuff the toes with socks and get on with life - just don't try to run! Slowly but surely I'm learning it's possible to face most of the challenges of life if I can just get my perspective right!

Speaking of perspective! It has been the most unusual winter. Snow almost every day! What happened to our Montana sunshine? Most days it has hid behind clouds. However, although the snow comes in teeny tiny flakes, it has come!

Snowmobiling is about as good as it can get. Powder hounds are in heaven! And, as long as we can get in and out (which isn't always an easy thing to do), we're happy if they are.

Of course, today's like today - deep blue skies which defy description, sunshine so bright it hurts your eyes (even when you're indoors), and a moose or two - or a trumpeter or three - or a fox to - add life to the landscape - well, today my shoes fit just fine, thank you!

Lady of the Lake