Thinking About Winter in August
August might seem early to start thinking about winter but with so many new people in the area, we wanted to promote increased awareness of some of the challenges to being up here full time in the winter, especially when there’s a lot of snow on the ground.
Speaking of snow, here’s a fun one from The Old Farmer’s Almanac: “If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.” At my house and on trails we hike, we’ve seen some pretty big ant hills. It’ll be interesting to see if that idiom turns out to be correct but if it is correct and we do get a heavy snow this winter, we want to remind people that the roads here become very difficult to drive on. Safety requires driving much slower than you’d intuitively think. We strongly recommend chains. This is especially important because we get a lot of people coming here to see or play in the snow which creates more traffic and more chances of encountering someone coming the opposite way who learns at the wrong time that they can’t stop their vehicle.
The county has historically provided crushed lava cinders left in piles in a few places around Walker including behind the firehouse and at the intersection of Walker Rd and Snow Drift Mine Rd. Using cinders will greatly improve traction on your driveway or dicey spots on the road near you. Just down the hill from Mary May on Sheldon Rd is a notoriously difficult spot for example.
Many of us live on roads that are not county maintained so we need to plow them ourselves or have someone plow for us. The fire department will of course attempt to respond to all calls but we can’t set the expectation that we’ll be able to drive through deep, unplowed snow. Most of the full-time resident firefighters have snowshoes and we’ll use them but walking ¼ of a mile or more, wearing snowshoes and carrying medical equipment won’t be quick.
Finally, the power tends to go out in large storms. A few years ago, it was out for a week. If you rely on medical equipment in your home, please don’t wait for the snow to accumulate and the power to then go out. Heed the warnings that we will share via our Facebook page and go stay at a hotel or with friends in town.