Greetings from the cabin!
This is the fall addition of, News from the Cabin, the goings on and cabin update for the Tilly Jane A-Frame on Mt. Hood.
We’ve had a busy drive up season this past spring/summer. The July work weekend was sparsely attended but those who showed took on the task of rehabilitating the trail between the TJ campground and the cabin, focusing mostly on the trail going down and back up and out of Tilly Creek. This section had many large rocks and was rutted which caused havoc on the wood cart wheels during the annual wood haul work parties. We were able to remove most of the offending rocks while filling holes and smoothing out this section of trail. The other problem area included the hills coming into and out of the amphitheater. Again we smoothed out these sections and widened the trail at the crest of the hill as you come out of the creek. We also spent time bucking several downed trees at the back of the cabin that came down during the past winter. Finally, we also had the woodstove inspected and the chimney swept in late July.
In August, the Forest Service (FS) was up surveying the trees around the cabin for rot or other dangers. Unfortunately, they identified 15 hazard trees during this inspection. We ended up hiring a local tree faller out of Parkdale to assist in bringing them down. Many of them were over two hundred years old! On one level, it was sad to see them come down, but they posed a hazard to the cabin and us as users of the structure. The majority of them were located on the East side of the cabin. We had one triple tree and 3-4 double trees. There were two that ended up being VERY challenging to bring down, requiring block and tackle to keep them from coming down on the structure. On the plus side, it now let’s in much more light within the structure! The plan is to use this wood over the next few seasons to supplement our firewood supply.
The FS also had several wood structure preservationist engineers on hand to evaluate the cabin during their August visit. While they didn’t complete full blown engineering studies, they did write a report outlining the required fixes associated with the cabin rehabilitation work. This, along with the completed architectural plans and the 2003 structure assessment have been passed to several contractors to provide a bid on Phase One of the cabin rehab project work. This includes: removing/replacing the current concrete footings (we’re required to use the original rock piers) and digging new footings for them, replacing all the rafter/buttresses (we’ll be able to cut away the rotten sections and splice on new logs), replace any rafter post ends that would require the roof to be removed and, finally, replacing the roof. It doesn’t sound like a lot of work but I’m expecting costs to be quite high. Once we have a bid, we’ll be able to begin fund raising and applying for different grant opportunities. This will require people with different skillsets so be warned……I’ll be approaching you, our user base, looking for interested volunteers with these skillsets! MORE TO COME ON THIS FRONT!
The FS has also been busy around the Tilly Jane area. They are in the process of completing a hazard fuels reduction project. The goal of this work is to remove ladder fuel and prevent catastrophic crown fires. They will be removing many small trees that create the “fire ladder” to the larger tree canopy.
On October 3rd, we held the annual Fall Work Party where the cabin was prepared for the upcoming high use winter season. This was by far the most successful volunteer event during my time managing the different cabin events. We had over 80 supporters in attendance. A HUGE shout out to those of you who took the day and gave back to TJ! It wouldn’t be available to the larger user community without your efforts……………THANK YOU! We hauled and stacked five cords of spit/seasoned wood earmarked for use in the woodstove. We split another cord of wood for use in the back fire pit, removed all the accumulated wood debris within the alcove, removed and stacked all the tree slash from the tree removal work, began bucking the newly downed trees, gave the cabin a good deep cleaning and rebuilt the woodstove door. Overall, A VERY SUCCESSFUL DAY!
Everyone also enjoyed a huge potluck style lunch with beverages donated by Base Camp Brewing. We also had a raffle prize drawing as a special “thank you” for some lucky winners. We had gift certificates, hats, shirts and even a pair of all-day lift tickets donated by Mt Hood Meadows/Crooked Tree Tavern, Solera Brewing, Double Mountain Brewing and the Oregon Nordic Club. All the work was completed by early afternoon which allowed folks to enjoy a hike or continue on with their day. Please consider coming out and helping at next year’s event!
There are several areas that need discussion and ultimately your assistance in working through. First, the wood supply located within the alcove (front door area) was totally depleted this year. We obtained many reports of huge bonfires out back. I suspect that users are taking the seasoned/split wood from the alcove and using it out back. Please help us to discourage this from happening. Everyone relies on this wood for use in the wood stove. If you encounter this behavior, please do what you can to educate our fellow cabin users. There is a stack of wood out back for use in the fire pit. Please limit yourself to reasonably sized fires. Again, we all rely on the wood in the alcove to heat the cabin, please think about and consider the groups that follow you! Five cords of wood will last the whole year if used for its intended purpose. The other discussion area involves the wood stove. We are replacing between 2-3 glass door panels per season. These are NOT cheap ($120 each) and it’s easy to avoid damaging them. Please do not use the stove with the door open. It doesn’t create more heat by doing this and in fact, it leads to burning more wood. It also causes the stove to “overheat” which warps the metal. Due to this, the door no longer closes properly. The glass is also not designed for sudden temperature changes; this is caused by water spilling on the door. The final cause is overloading the firebox, then slamming the door shut. If the wood isn’t fully clear of the door, the glass can break. Please do your best to treat the stove gently!
Moving on, cabin usage is slightly increasing. Peak season remains January – April, if you haven’t booked your weekend, I’d recommend doing so sooner than later. Saturday nights are the most popular night with plenty of availability during the week. We are beginning to see increased demand during the summer months. As of this writing………The 2015 expenses ran $3073. As in years past, firewood represents the bulk of the expense, although the stove was cleaned/inspected, trees removed and we purchased a final wood cart. We have $48K in the bank before this year’s expenses. We’ve also secured a 10K grant from the FS to assist in the restoration work.
Normally, this would conclude all communications until next spring’s Newsletter but with rehabilitation bids out and a tight grant acceptance window coming in April, project funding work will be taking place this fall/winter. A special edition will be created once the project scope and costs are better understood. We’ll be looking for folks with interest and experience in Grant Writing, Construction Project Management and Fund Raising efforts. Please contact me if you have these skillsets and have an interest in getting more involved. With enough interest, this work should be manageable and limited in time commitments.
Oregon Nordic Club