It snowed on September 30th. The forecast said that snow was coming, but you know how weather forecasters are often wrong. I was sure that this would be another example. When I looked up average temperatures at Lake Chelan in September, the average high is 70 degrees, and the low is 60 degrees. For October, its 60 degrees and a low of 40 degrees. The first snow is typically in the middle of November, but it doesn’t stick around for another month or two.
Surprise, surprise! They weren’t lying. At our little cabin, the elevation is 2100 feet, and we saw snow. It didn’t stick at our place, but just a couple hundred feet higher, the white stuff covered the mountains. Even though summer was barely over, there was no denying that winter is coming.
Rick and I decided that this year, we will spend the winter in the cabin. The first winter after our move to Chelan, we left for Europe. We were gone all of January and February. The following year, we rented a house on the lake from a friend of a friend. This year, the house is progressing, and we want to be around for that and save money by not paying rent.
As a result of that early snow, the talk around town has overwhelmingly been about getting ready for winter. For our rural neighbors, that means stocking up on firewood, winterizing water pumps and tanks, getting propane tanks filled, and tuning up the dirt roads. All around the valley, unfinished projects around the house take on greater urgency. Snowbirds are making plans for when they will leave for warmer weather.
I will admit that I am feeling anxious about the coming months. Our cabin is snug and warm, but tiny. During the warmer months, we spend a lot of time outside. In the heart of winter, we can accumulate two to four feet of snow at our elevation. We see the sun during the day, but in the afternoon, it hides behind the mountains on the south side. Our private road and driveway will need regular plowing. We’ve spent time here in the winter, but not this long.
I’ve romanticized winter on our mountain, but in those dreams, we were already in our new house. In my mind, soup is bubbling on the stove, there is a full pantry and wine cellar, and a fire blazing in the woodstove. Because there is nothing else to do, I have the time and space for crafting and creating. Rick is happy puttering away in his shop, tinkering, maintaining, and fixing things.
Even though I am unsure about the long, cold months ahead, I am also looking forward to this season of reflection. I found and refinished an old elementary school type of desk that I paired with a little chair. It’s just the right size for me and a dedicated workspace. I started writing a book last winter, and I plan to finish it in the next few months. There are other projects I want to finish that will help people feel more confident when dealing with their finances.
In the next month, we will finally have power on our mountain. It has taken a lot of will, working with our neighbors, and coordination with the utility company to get to this stage. Our steep and windy dirt road has not made this project easy, but it will be worth it. Our little solar-powered system doesn’t get enough hours of sunshine in the winter. Having power will be one less worry.
Over the next month or so, we will continue to finish projects and button up all of those last details before the cold weather comes. I’m sure that everything will be okay. It’s just part of the adventure! If it gets really bad, we can always go and visit family and friends. If it gets really, really bad, then we can see if the lake house is available for rent again. However it goes, I am sure that I will be channeling my inner Caroline Ingalls for her resourcefulness and strength! Here’s to a happy winter!