A snow covered wheatfield near Davenport, WA


 Heading home from our three-week ski vacation, we passed through Spokane where there was only a trace of snow on the ground.  That got us thinking that there probably wouldn’t be much snow at our home in the hills above Chelan either.  Wrong!  When we turned to enter our driveway off the Union Valley Road just after dark we were confronted by a four-foot wall of snow.  The actual snowfall while we were away was close to two feet but the county snow plow had left a birm and our neighbor had pushed the birm aside to give us a safe place to park our car since there was no way we could drive to our house.

Our driveway, by the way, is about 1/3 mile long.  Fortunately, we had snowshoes in the car which we donned and made our way over the snow drifts to our log cabin home.  With our car out on the county road and 1/3 mile of deep snow separating us from civilization we were a textbook case of snowbound.

I normally plow our driveway with a Bobcat but two feet of snow was more than it could handle.  Even our snowmobile got stuck in the soft snow when I failed to negotiate the tight curve exiting it’s shed.   I fired up my old snowblower in an attempt to clear a path for the Bobcat to the top of the steep part of the driveway but halfway up the hill it emitted a loud pop and a blue flame and died on the spot.  At that point Mary and I got out our ultra low-tech snow shovels and started in where the snowblower had checked out.  We worked until midnight when, exhausted, we realized that clearing our driveway of snow would be a matter of days, not hours.

Compounding the two feet of new snow was a high birm of old snow that I had plowed off the driveway before we left for our vacation.  That birm made it impossible to push the new snow aside.  Realizing that I needed to get the snow over the birm, I made a quick trip to Wenatchee the following morning to pick up a new snowblower.  I bought one with tracks and a hefty 9-hp engine because I realized 24″ of snow would present a challenge.  It did.  The new blower valiantly chewed into the wall of snow but I had to frequently stop and shovel away the top 12″ by hand because the blower couldn’t do it alone.

  

After a day of snow blowing and another day of Bobcat plowing I eventually made it to the county road, re-linking us with the outside world.  Supplies could now be driven directly to our back door by automobile! – a great improvement over snowshoeing.

 
 Postscript:  Just as we finished clearing our driveway of snow, our son who lives in Virginia called to say that they are forecasted to receive 30″ of snow over the weekend.  It seems our bragging rights may well be short-lived.

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