Thursday, January 14, 2021

Someone Got a Hair Cut



 I was so burned out when the season ended ten days or so ago. Was just hanging on having to do everything at both places but I survived it and now ten days later out hiking with Jax every day the stress is gone. I stepped out on the porch tonight to see if there were any critters that needed more hot dogs. I turned my headlamp off and the sky was amazing with stars. I'd sort of forgotten. 

Got a male sharp shin trying to get the songbirds and he's a cool customer. When he's in the tree I under hand rocks up towards him and he doesn't move.

We hike for a couple hours and then do some outdoor chores to get caught up. Pick up wood and unload it at one of seven locations around the property.

Apparently the six cows spent a little more time at the beach than I thought.

Saturday, January 9, 2021


Jax and I are out hiking and I'm pretty sure we found the place where the cows bedded down each evening before they got pushed down Lockhart Basin. I'm not going to miss tamarisk. If someone could teach cattle to eat tamarisk it would solve two problems.

The cactus which only bloom for about seven to ten days each year turn pink in the winter.

Later in the day I'm filling the water tanks right to the top so I can yank the hoses and extension cords so we have about an hour or so and take the fire road above the house and hogans.
When we picked up mail in town the other day there was a letter from a guy that said he stayed here back in the summer and owed money when he left and said he'd send it to me. There was a check for $200 enclosed. Pretty cool. Years ago I had a couple stay here for a week or so and about three days in she found out she lost her job while she was gone and two days later he lost his job. When they checked out they told me they had both lost their jobs and it was going to be very tight going and I told them they were fine just do what they can. About six months later I got half of it and was probably a year or so after that they sent me the rest. It's such a good feeling.

The ravens are on a tear. They've figured out how to open the trash cans at Last Hurrah and since I have the same can everywhere there was a lot of picking up going on today. They raided the male, female, and both hogans trash cans. I was rationalizing not being mad at them because I've only seen two hawks intermittently at the lodge so there are a lot of happy songbirds. After I'd picked up all trash littered around we drove back over to the lodge and there were three hawks between the well house, dead cottonwood, and the lodge roof. The cans were mostly empty and the only things in them were small pieces of trash I'd found while cleaning but they yanked them out again.

I haven't seen any activity across the river at Caveman Ranch or Tangren-La, whichever it's current name is and it's been under contract for probably close to a year. As Jax and I were wrapping up extension cords and hoses a helicopter buzzed Caveman for five minutes flying in real low and looking around from just a few feet off the ground and then headed off towards Canyonlands Field.

Living the Dream

 I'm inside mornings doing paperwork and numbers waiting for a little warmth outside. Anything above freezing works for me. Sun comes out and time to get some work done around the lodge. The battery in the generator is dead so it won't come on automatically until I replace it. I take the old battery out and I've hooked up the red cable to the new battery and before I hook up the black one, something isn't right. In the financial world you're looking to have your business "in the black" which is positive cash flow. If it's "in the red" then you're bleeding cash which is the lifeblood of a business. In the world of batteries that isn't the case. Red is positive and black is negative. The first eight years out here I fried at least one battery every year. I'd been doing the books for Let's Play for most of 20 years and it was all about being positive cash flow in the black. Finally I've gone three or four years without frying a battery by hooking it up backwards and I came within two seconds of doing it again.

I'm looking out the back dining room window and see two figures moving in the distance. I have binoculars by both entrances to the lodge and same at the house and condo. I look through them and see two cows by the boat ramp. They aren't going to be able to get water there as it's 40 feet of ice before there is any water. If they find their way up to the pond by the house and break the artificial bottom it's about $30,000. I say to myself "Cows". Jax runs to the front door. They are in some pretty deep weeds with lots of stickers just munching away when we get there and there's six of them. I open the door of the truck to see if we can drive them back towards the lodge. Jax shoots into the weeds and occasionally I can just see a head jumping up in the air and cows running in all directions. Unfortunately Jax chases them the wrong way and they're heading towards the houses and garage. Jax comes out of the bushes and he has stickers everywhere and burrs all rolled up in his hair but he's excited. By the time we get over to the garage they're way in the corner of the property hanging out by the Bottle Place and there's nothing we can do to get them out.
We return to the lodge and I call Curtis and he says he'll be out early in the morning. I have a whole bunch of wood to unload and I'm pumping water so we spend most of the rest of the day hanging out at the Main House unloading and Jax sits on the hill making sure the cattle don't head up the hill. It's late at night by the time we're done and return to the lodge. I'm hoping cattle don't move much in the dark as there's no moon at all that I saw. At 7am I hear a truck pull up the drive way and it's Curtis with a horse in the back and three dogs. I tell him I think the cattle have probably returned to the boat ramp. He unloads the horse the same way I unload Kobae. He pulls up to a three or four foot embankment and the horse walks out. By the time Jax and I get over to help he's already pushed them out to the gate.

Jax and I follow in the truck up the sand hill and Jax jumps out a couple times but he won't go if I tag along in the truck. He wants me to get out and run alongside the horse and dogs. That's not going to happen. We turn around to come back to the lodge and I see a chair sitting out in the middle of nowhere. Jax and I hike over to check it out.

I don't know what that's about. Later in the day Jax and I go by the same place in the side by side to make sure some guests made it over to the Wind Caves and the chair is gone. I didn't see any footprints around it either time. Monolith my ass. Jax and I return to the lodge. We have a lot of stickers and burrs to get out.

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Days

In the mornings it's paperwork preparing for the next year. I'm updating disc golf maps and printing plenty of them. I've changed the waiver slightly for the first time since I've been here and printing plenty of those. Working on hand drawn maps updated for Skinny People, Wind Caves, Chicken Corner and one I hope will help a lot, a hand drawn of the property so people will have options where to go while here. When the day warms some it's an hour or so outside work and then we're off hiking.

I don't know what I'm going to put on the floors in the rooms at the lodge but I know it won't be carpet. The last month of the season was embarrassing. They have stains on them and it's impossible to shampoo because it's cold and won't dry before the next guests check in so I've got somebody coming out to yank the carpet. Hired a professional crew from in town to come deep clean Last Hurrah and they were here for two days. They stayed in the main house and said they heard activity at night so Jax and I are off today to put traps all over it. I need some ringtails at Last Hurrah.
Jax and I hike to the bottom of the drive way and there are dog, cow, and horse tracks. Jax gets excited and heads off to Jackson Hole but the tracks indicate they are heading Lockhart Basin so I call him and we start hiking towards the Wind Caves. I saw Curtis the other day and he said he had a few cows out in Jackson Hole he was going to have to move down Lockhart to catch the rest of the heard so this is that. Jax is excited but we hike out to the loop that heads back towards the lodge and we never saw them.
I've closed the bunk bed room. It has a few bookings for the year and I'll live with those but no new ones. Co-vid looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better and it's the only room that has entrance to the common areas. Plus that room fills with kids a lot and they hang inside much of the time so I've shut it down while I wait and see what happens. Perhaps Doug's set up by his hogan on the hill is an option. I have two outdoor grills but if I had more in the way of an outdoor kitchen it might help. Lot more work to keep it clean. Maybe I take the bunk bed room and hire another person or two and change the layout in there to have a permanent person live there. Kicking it around.
Jax and I have brought back another load of wood. Catching up. When the season ended earlier this week I was almost out of wood, propane bottles, drinking water, and many supplies. Being by myself most of the last two to three weeks I had no time to run in and get stuff without abandoning guests that were staying here. Despite the co-vid or maybe because of the co-vid and with 77 cancellations in March, April, and May, being down $75,000 on May 31st versus the previous year the property finished the year up $75,000. Kind of unbelievable.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Year

The last guest from 2020 checked out today and I have at the moment very few guests booked for the next two months. Tonight there are no guests on the property anywhere and it's just Jax and I.

Here is a good example of a north facing and south facing slope as we hike up Hurrah so you can see the snow difference.

Jax and I have been hiking once or twice every day. I misplaced my camera for a few days so wasn't able to get any shots of our hikes. He's a pretty happy dog and still does his crazy run around me in circles when we go hiking and then I sit down and glove fight him. When he gets tired he just comes over and lays on my lap. Pet him for a minute or two and he's ready to go hiking again.
The last few days of the year there was a lot of good and a little bit of bad. Somebody took all the tape off the queen and king windows on the front porch and two birds, one flew into the king and I found it dead. While I was inside cleaning the queen, I heard a bird hit the window and it was flopping around on the porch when I stepped outside. I picked it up and it died. I'm running out of room in the wildlife versus wildlife cemetery. Lately it's wildlife versus mankind cemetery. I taped both windows so you can hardly see out of them.

A mother and son from back in the northeast somewhere came and played the disc golf course. They were touring around playing the courses with the most fearsome reputations. A family showed up shortly after and played the course and they were so appreciative. One of them said this was the most fun they'd ever had. Right after that some of the guests came back in the Polaris side by side, it's about the 20th trip with no problems since I got it back and said they read the blog and know how much money I've lost on the side by side venture but they really enjoyed it and hoped I'd keep doing it.
On our hike up Hurrah today we saw three bicycle riders, one Jeep, and one side by side. That was it. Pretty quiet out here. 
Michelle has disappeared six times since she's been back and is just gone out of the blue leaving me with all the jobs. I finally fired her and she took off for for Moab. Then she suddenly shows up while I'm cleaning the hogans and brings me a mop bucket. That doesn't make any sense. Then I hear her call Jax and drive off. I throw the mop bucket in the back of the truck and head for the lodge. Jax is in the Jeep when I pull up, the back door of the Jeep is open and I see a suitcase. She's leaving and taking off with Jax reneging on the deal when she gave me Jax. Michelle has run inside to get something. I open the Jeep door and Jax jumps out and jumps up in the truck. As I'm trying to close the door she tries to get in the truck. Eventually I get the door closed and lock it. It was a little more intense than that but in short I have Jax and we're going to court at some point.

I have to say with Michelle gone it's so relaxing and there's not constant drama. I'm really enjoying the last couple of days and I got good news. Linda said she'd come back beginning March sometime and Linny emailed and said she wanted to come to the lodge so at some point in the next week or so my best friend in the whole world is returning.
After three or so weeks of just the small male ringtail showing up in the rafters I'd resigned myself to it was the female that I'll never see again. But three of the last four nights a female small ringtail has showed up with him and acts just like the one I thought got ran over. The property is still a ringtail short but it doesn't appear to have been one of the ones that hang out at the lodge. Mixed bag but the future occupants of the porch will be happy.