Last Monday I went up to the backcountry office and got some permits.

Just like last year, it snowed. Last time it was pretty bad weather. I’ve done that drive many times in bad weather, it didn’t bother me. But most other drivers were having problems. One went into the river in the narrows. This time it wasn’t nearly as bad, just a thin snowpack, a bit slick here and there. Nobody was off the road this time.

Quite some time ago I made up a wish-list of four trips with the intention of buying two. Last year I bought three, but one was too early, the first week of July, and never had any chance of going where I wanted to go. I probably can’t count on getting to any lake much above 11,000 feet until late July.

I’m planning on attending LOG 40 this year. That’s in Salt Lake City in late September and includes a track day at Utah Motorsports Campus. Check-in is Friday, the 18th. Track day is Monday. A day for the drive back and that’s a five day weekend and should probably take the place of the third permit.

So two trips is probably the way to go.

But I bought three again. They’re all on the west side. The first is the second week of July instead of the first week, so probably too early again. The second is in mid-August and the third is a few days after LOG. I’ll have a day off at home between the drive home from LOG and the backpacking trip. Should be an exceptional week.

Their credit card machine was broken, so they told me to expect an email with instructions on how to pay. I haven’t gotten any instructions yet. I called and asked about it. The gal I talked to said she appreciated that I was so eager to pay. I told her I’d be patient and wait for the email.

Permits arranged, I headed up to Bear Lake parking lot with the idea I might make a quick visit to Emerald Lake. The Lexus has summer tires, but the road was plowed. There were a few drifts already, as it was quite windy. I got to the lot at 9 or 9:30, I wasn’t paying particular attention. There were only eight or nine cars there. I was all kitted up and ready to go when I saw that I forgot to bring a water bottle. Ah, well.

I didn’t bring my snowshoes, just the micro-spikes. I had no plans to go off the beaten path. And I now had no plans to go any farther than Dream Lake. There in the parking lot it didn’t strike me as particularly windy. And it wasn’t bad in the trees, as usual. But it was blowing fiercely at Nymph. Somebody had built a large snowman on the lake. Hallett was obscured by a cloud of blowing snow.

After checking out the snowman, I headed up the winter route. There I ran into a young couple from southwest Michigan. “Is this the trail?” They followed me up to Dream Lake. They were dressed for the weather but were just in boots, no spikes. It had snowed a few inches overnight, or perhaps just been blown down from above, who knows. There were a couple of ski tracks and at least one set of boot prints. We weren’t on a firm trail but never sank more than ankle-deep. I was happy to have the micro-spikes.

They said they wanted to go to Emerald. I described the route for them guessed they’d have no difficulty finding the way and to take care. I found a place sort of out of the wind and sat down. The couple found shelter in some trees thirty yards away for a while before heading across the ice towards Emerald. I sat there for some time. I’m sure it wasn’t as long a time as it seemed. Then I ventured out onto the wind-blasted lake to investigate the ice. A gust nearly blew me over. I didn’t stay there very long.

I ran into another couple not far from Bear Lake. They were car people, too. For some reason, I was a bit surprised to meet car people. I don’t know why I should be surprised. While I was chatting with them, the Michigan couple passed us. Clearly they didn’t make it to Emerald Lake.

I drove down to Moraine Park and found a parking place with a view and tucked into my picnic lunch. Here I will confess that in the place of my usual soda I had a beer instead.

Not a bad way to spend the day.

Car Update

The weather this weekend was glorious. Running errands in the SUV I lamented the unavailability of the fun car. But we had a bit of a milestone today.

Michael had the engine and transmission mated and ready to hoist into the car. All the good bits were on the new motor. All, that is, except for the A/C, which we’re deleting. Michael found a routing diagram for the A/C delete configuration. The other night we wound a cord around it and marked it for length.

So today we fetched the hoist from the shed and got to it. When we took the old motor out, we were an inch short on the lift. Putting this one in we had no problem with height. There was a significant amount of jockeying around. The first mount was on pretty easily. We had to make a couple of stabs on the second one. At that point, Michael said he’d accomplished what he wanted, so he released me. But he kept at it and did the other two. without my encumbrance assistance. I’m not sure I can be of much help for most of the rest of the job.

A significant milestone, I think. I’ve got to get off my duff now and buy some coolant and new pads for the rear. Oh, and a belt that best matches our string.

Some time ago Michael and I discussed driving the car around the block without the rear clam. Today he pointed out that we have nowhere to mount the battery without the clam. Still, I think it would be a kick to drive it clamless.