The Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, the world was coated in white. Trees bent at awkward angles, and nothing looked the same as it did before. After my first cup and before I could talk myself into going back to bed (in the hopes it was just a dream), I stepped outside and was greeted by the crack of a tall, mighty cedar. The thud you’d expect to follow was instead a silent plume that reached the porch where I stood. An ominous sign that confirmed that, indeed, I was awake, and sadly foretold what was in store.
Once I mustered the fortitude to strap on the shoes and get myself otherwise properly attired, or so I thought, I post-holed my way through thigh-high snow to the edge of my driveway. There, I rested to catch my breath and take a glance down Olivia Lane. What I saw left me slack-jawed. A tangle of trees, mostly broken, blocked the view and confirmed my fears. I heaved a sigh and retreated to grab my saw and a hiking pole. Both were required if I hoped to take a look around.
By the time I reached Roy’s Point Blvd, I was drenched in sweat, and the magnitude of the storm was beginning to sink in. Trees continued to sway in an exaggerated way, and the relentless snow fell like sheets of rain. I looked toward the highway and had a quick moment of dread thinking nobody would be able to come or go until late March. How was a pick-up truck ever going to be able to move snow this heavy and this deep with countess trees down across all the roads and many of the driveways? I took another deep breath and got a grip.
The cutting began, and miraculously Gary showed up with a skidder. We worked in concert, prioritizing the roads and driveways to free those trapped at their cottage. We then moved on to the rest of the community, and by working well into Monday night, we were able to have everything cleared by Tuesday afternoon. A far cry from March. With our arborist now able to get around, he began the meticulous and exhausting task of removing trees off roofs and evaluating those that were threatening. Thankfully, damage to structures was relatively minor — much credit to Roland for his expertise and thoughtful approach to managing our trees.
Indeed, I am blessed to work with vendors who are pro-active and have a “can-do” attitude, especially in emergencies or when time is of the essence. In a community that functions entirely as a private enterprise, without any public services, this “sense of ownership” is something I try to instill and certainly cherish.
In sum, we have had more snow, and we have had stronger winds, but never at the same time. The storm over Thanksgiving weekend was the most powerful I’ve experienced in my eighteen years at the ‘Creek. It is still hard to gauge the number of trees we lost, but it is significant. I counted seventy down on or near the trails (making parts impassable) and all told we lost hundreds (sadly, a lot of cedar) throughout our forest. As you can imagine, clean-up will go well into the Spring. Still, as of yesterday, BYC was in excellent shape (even better than some municipalities), but I am afraid the driving rain that began last night and continues this morning has softened the base of snow on the roads and will make getting around tricky.
Without question, the impact of our changing weather is becoming increasingly evident at BYC. It is now obviously reflected at our shoreline and in our forest, but it also been a challenge over the past 4 or 5 years to maintain our gravel roads with the warmer temperatures and freeze-thaw cycle that is our new normal. I expect over the next few days, the roads will refreeze and will be slippery. We will do what we can to make moving around possible for those who have plans to be at your Northwoods digs this coming week, but a reminder that if you do need extra traction, there are three (black) sand barrels placed around the community. You will find them near the front and back entrances and under the Sophie Lane street sign. Of course, for the safest and best ways to move around our roads, I always recommend snow tires for your car and ice cleats for your feet.
By the way, if you are using your cottage over the winter, you, or your home service provider may want to shovel a path to your holding tank cover. Septic companies require access if you need a pump out. For more information about winter preparedness, please see our resources page on our community website.
If you have any other questions on anything “Creek” related (or whatever else, I guess), please always feel free to contact me.
I will be sending out a full manager report in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on the latest at the ‘Creek!
Take good care, be safe, and blessings in the new year!
Jeffery A. Garrett
Manager, Brickyard Creek