Monday, September 28, 2009

The Lost Lodge Part 1

In my last grasp at summer, I talked padre into an end-of-season boatiing trip. Of course the weather leading up to our trip led me to believe we’d have nothing but sunshine days and cool nights. It was the day before we left when padre checked the weather. I think I’m quoting the weather channel’s caption for the week ahead: “soggy in the south.” Looking forward to a vacation either way, we loaded up the car and headed down to the lake.

When looking for somewhere to rest our head, Dad looked up a place he had stayed years before—the lost lodge. He and Momma T had stayed there with young kids when stretching a buck was the only way to afford a vacation. Stretching a buck is again all the rage, especially in our family.

Growing up mom and dad had told us stories about this place—the place with the never ending stairs, so many stairs that the establishment put in what they call a hillevator. They advertise this unique feature on their website. I couldn’t wait to explore this contraption.

Let me just interrupt my story right here to mention MY DELETE BUTTON ISN”T WORKING. So every time I have a change in direction or a new thought or even a SPELLING ERROR, I can’t fix it. I have to highlight the offending sentence, word or error and hit the space bar. Just one more reason typing this post has taken me several days.

Ok, sorry about that.

Dad and I were the first to arrive, with Biscuit and Monkers not far behind. This gave us an opportunity to unload the car and explore. My first priority was to check out the hillevator, and I will do my best to explain to you what I found.

At the end of the road, a path leads you towards the lake. The path forks, one way towards a steep cement staircase that descends into the forest, and another way towards a platform at the top of the hillevator. Standing there at that platform, there was almost too much to take in.
First was the extreme angle of the hill. Standing at the top and looking down into the forest with only a glimpse of the dock, the feeling was dizzying.


Second, the snaking of the cement staircase down the hill with only a rusted steel railing for grip. Each step classified by a high rise, but narrow tread, leaves one having to side-step all the way down. Additionally, because the lake is about 50 ft lower, there are MORE steps where the hillevator ends to get you down to the current water level. Let me just say that after a long day of skiing, when your legs are shaking and your back can barely hold up your own body weight and the stairs seem insurmountable. You take a deep breath and take them one at a time because you know they are the only thing between you and a hot shower!


Third, and most notable, the hillevator. The website failed to mention that this machine is as old as the lodge itself. There next to us was a steel basket that would hold four adults—MAX. The basket and the rails leading down through the dark forest was dark brownish-red. You know, the color of RUST. You know what my dad told me about RUST. It is cancer to metal. HMMMM, do I want to get into this terminal contraption? HELL YEAH I DO.


Dad and I got into the basket and per the homemade sign, pressed the green button to go down. He pressed the button and we waited. My thoughts were clouded with disaster scenarios as we waiting. We waited some more. Did he actually push the button?
Just as I looked at him to ask, the basket jerked to a start. We both jumped, gripped the sides for dear life and laughed nervously. As we rode down the hill at a grueling 1mph, I was repeatedly checking the structure of the rails—still contemplating worst case scenarios. Halfway down the hill, I notice that some of the rails are reinforced with wood and secured with………

wait for it……..

I am not kidding. The weight of 4 adults that could exceed 700lbs is being reinforced by ZIP TIES? I’m not sure if I was more scared or impressed by the durability of plastic.


Well, since we are all back home in one piece, the hillevator proved to be durable. We rode it up and down the hill all weekend. When contemplating the alternative of 327 steps, we were most grateful for it’s longevity, and the excitement it generated.

Look for more family follies to follow this week.