Winter life continues to be interesting at Elk Lake.

February 21, 2015…17*, overcast, and lightly snowing
Okay, so when I say “snowing”, it’s really like very fine powdered sugar lazily zig-zagging its way to Earth.  It’s far from impressive and feels like such a tease when we were “promised” around a 4” accumulation by the local weather forecaster.  Isn’t it supposed to snow in the mountains??!
This winter the topic which concerns our life is “weather.”  Every morning and every evening Jake and I sit glued to the Weather Channel or local broadcast eagerly awaiting good news about impending snow.  It’s beginning to feel like we’re in a dysfunctional relationship with these people…blindly faithful to their reassuring words, only to be disappointed again and again by their empty promises.  Our last good snow was around Christmas and a few weeks of above 40* temps took a huge bite out of that.  The road to get to Elk Lake is bare in many places and therefore inaccessible to snowmobiles, but the Continental Divide is still inaccessible to vehicles so here we sit…marooned.
My parsley is trying to grow!
I am sitting here eating chocolate while I type to console myself.
In an effort to keep that high-pitched mosquito whininess out of my writing, let me just say…it’s the weather.  Everyone complains about it, no one does anything about it.
Really, we have been quite lucky.  The Divide Trail miraculously is snow-covered and the lake remains frozen.  That means people who desperately want to play SOMEWHERE can come our direction and hit a wide expanse of good snow “up top.”  There’s plenty of room to get up speed and shoot rooster tails on the turns; just don’t get off the machine or you will sink up to your knees (according to pictures we’ve seen and stories we’ve been told.) Given Yellowstone National Park just closed its West Entrance to snowmobiles because of lack of snow, we offer as good an option as anywhere else local to come and go wild on a machine.
Picture courtesy of our Italian guests.
Our new dilemma…(there is always something)…is how to keep feeding our guests.  You’d think if people can get in to Elk Lake, we could get out to the truck, right?  In theory, yes.  In practice, no.  Yes, Jake can snowmobile out the same way people are coming in, but remember…he’d be pulling a trailer which on the reverse trip would be laden with heavy food.  It’s remarkable how heavy a box of fries is!  Our machine and trailer, combined with the quality of snow on top, is a certain recipe for getting stuck.  And you’ve already learned how much fun that is from Jake’s trip to town the day after Christmas.
Look how high-centered the machine is from the melt.
This is why we watch the Weather Channel with such eagerness.
The last time Jake picked up a Sysco order (hamburgers, fries, buns) was before the Superbowl.  The last time he went to town, remember, he had very little room on the trailer because he was hauling in a new grill, and that trip was the last time there was enough snow on the road and in the ditches to get back to the truck. As of today, we have 21 burger patties, 15 or so chicken breasts, about as many buns, and 4 bags of fries.  One big group and we will be wiped out.  The fact we have survived this long without bringing in more food shows that we were well stocked, but now we are facing the hard truth that we are about to run out.
Sad looking freezer.
It is for this reason Jake is currently down in the barn working to get our ATV started.  We have two ATVs…a 2-wheel drive and a 4-wheel drive.  Guess which one is here and which one has been at the mechanics since last fall?  Ah, yes…our luck continues.  Our little 2-wheel drive may have to be the beast of burden, at least to do some recon and see exactly what we’re up against when it comes to the road conditions.  In a perfect world, Jake would be able to get to the truck, drive it back in to Elk Lake, we’d make a huge Sysco order, he’d pick it up on Tuesday with the truck, bring the load back to the Lodge, take the truck back out to Henry’s Lake, ride the ATV back in, and let it snow on Wednesday.  I get exhausted just even writing it!
Lesson learned: stock up even more when the going is easy!
The other thing is this: we really do have plenty of food.  It’s just not the food represented by the lunch menu.  I can always figure out “something” to feed people if they are willing to go with the flow.  I envision myself as the matron of an old-time roadhouse…slinging plates of beans and hunks of homemade bread onto oilcloth covered tables, tankards of ale and bottles of cheap whiskey awaiting at the bar.  Oops, maybe cabin fever got to me there for a moment.  Rather, I would make a nice gooey grilled cheese sandwich on crusty homemade bread, accompanied by aromatic tomato soup with a dollop of sour cream.  Now that’s a comfort classic.
Update: the ATV is running and Jake says it handles quite well in the snow.  So far so good.
On that positive note, I bid adieu and thank you for reading.  I also want to thank all the great groups of guests who have stopped by over the past few weeks.  We had so much fun getting to know you…the Wisconsin group, the many Minnesota groups, the southern-speaking Georgians, the guys from Italy, the Iowans, the locals…it has been and IS our pleasure to serve you.

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