It’s hard to believe (as it almost always is) that we’ll be leaving Camp Utmost in just a week. Our time here in the hills outside of Missoula has been lovely! The weather has been exceptional – cool nights and mostly sunny bright days. Perfect painting weather!
And that’s mostly what we’ve doing!
See this lodge –
Ok – so we didn’t paint ALL of it, but we did the right side and around the back. Then we moved to the woodshed and the pump house –
The thing is, virtually every building on the campus has this beautiful cedar siding and all of them are due for a paint (stain) job.
There certainly is some job security here! The guys have been working on winterizing the bathhouses and doing repairs from last winter when they weren’t winterized. Ouch. We’ve all been kept good and busy – those long weekends feel mighty fine! (Actually having an hour for lunch is pretty nice too! It’s much easier to fit a quick nap in!)
But as always, it’s not all work and no play around here. We’ve gotten together a couple of times for games, and one night we even had a little goofy golf (or whatever you’d like to call it) tournament. Not surprisingly, the couple that play in a senior softball league cleaned up!
We girls took a little jaunt into Seeley Lake (about 20 minutes north) to check out a local quilt shop and do the post office/milk and eggs run. This is a shot of Salmon Lake that we pass on our way to town –
There are a lot of lakes in this area – all of them seem to be full of Montana beauty!
So, I’m sure my week was a lot like yours. Some work, some play, some chores, some ups and some downs. We are so blessed to have been able to spend these weeks at Camp Utmost! Hope your week was blessed too!
This has truly been an exceptional project for us.
1.The folks we worked with.
We were working with the team we drove to Alaska with along with those new team members Pete and Ellen.
After all that time on the road we are STILL good friends, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing devotions each morning, working together and then playing together. Such a blessing!
2.The folks who work at Camp Li-Wa
Li-Wa has been a camp in Fairbanks since 1959. Like Alaska, it is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. I can’t speak for all of the counselors and summer staff, but I know that the full-time year around staff are all there as missionaries. There are no big salaries or corporate perks with these jobs, everyone raises their own support and feels called to serve the Lord at the camp. They are a remarkable group of servants, and we were honored to serve along with them.
3.The work we did.
a. The men took on a huge job, and (as usual) handled it with great skill. The camp had been given a small construction trailer and needed to make it into the boys’ bathhouse.
When they started the shower stalls were in, the plumbing was there for the toilets and sink and that was all. No water, no electric, no sewer, not even steps into the building. By the beginning of the third week it was fully functional with a new peaked roof along with stairs and a landing into the building.
While Gary finished up the electric and water service to the boys’ bathhouse, the rest of the guys moved over to the girls’ bathhouse where they put a peaked roof over the existing flat one. Towards the end of our work time the guys worked together on getting the sewer line installed in the bathhouse and then while Gary worked on water lines in one of the new cabins,
the rest of the men built a solar box for the hot water heater!
These four men accomplished amazing things!
b. We ladies started out with a big cleaning job – getting the camp kitchen ready for the “season”.
It hadn’t been used all winter so it took us a couple of days to not only clean the appliances, shelves and floor, but also wash and sanitize all the dishes and silverware. After we got the cleaning done, Ellen and I worked on painting the floor.
With the kitchen cleaning done we moved to making curtains!!! Naomi, Rosie and I are Sewing Sowers, so we were pretty happy with that assignment. Ellen kept busy watering the gardens and flowers boxes that decorate the camp (and get enormous with all the sunlight!).
After we made curtains for one of the new cabins, we made new curtains for the camp dining hall and then for all three of the boys’ cabins.
(Check our our anti-mosquito garb!)
We were done with a couple of days to spare so we tackled some pillows and a wall hanging that they had had for a while and just hadn’t had time to get to. So for the last two days I was machine quilting!!!! What a delight for me!
4.The fact that we are in ALASKA! We have had a great time this month during our “tourist” moments – Chena Hot Springs, the Dalton Highway and the Arctic Circle, Discovery Riverboat, local farmer’s market, museums and parks, and the lovely Camp Li-Wa itself. As a special bonus, today as we were heading into Fairbanks we actually (for the first time) caught sight of Mt. McKinley on the horizon. It’s almost 200 miles away, so the conditions have to be just right for it to be visible. It was a great way to end our time in Fairbanks. (Sorry, but I didn’t have my trusty camera with me!)
Right now we’re parked in the Fred Myer’s parking lot waiting for a call from Lara that her plane has landed. While the Fairbanks Airport may have a “cell phone waiting lot”, we’re pretty sure it doesn’t have an RV waiting lot! It’s been a good month – and we’re looking forward for more goodness in the weeks and months ahead.
PS – if you’d like to see more of these hard working folks workin’ – Here you go!
Tonight, after a lovely dinner provided by our hosts, I loaded up with bug spray and took a little walk around the camp. I hadn’t checked out all the different areas and since the evening was so very lovely it seemed like a perfect opportunity. Want to come along?
This is where we are parked.
We’re very cozy (and close enough so I can yell at Rosie if I need to borrow a cup of sugar!). Jay and Naomi and Pete and Ellen are parked on the other side of this building (where we meet for devotions, break and games).
I took the pictures standing in the same place, so even though we aren’t all together, we are certainly all in the same neighborhood!
I hadn’t checked out the horse barn, so I wandered over that way.
Busy place, that barn!
But, on with the walk-
This is the building where we ladies have been sewing. Once it’s finished it will be used as cabin space for campers. Right now it’s pretty cluttered with our sewing stuff as we’ve been working on curtains. (We’ve completed 17 pairs, with 9 more to go!).
I’m not sure who gets to sleep in the tent – maybe some of the summer staff?
The cabins and dining hall are down at the “lower camp” – just a short walk down the road,
But I thought I’d explore a path down to the lake
I had spotted something white high in one of those pine trees on the other side of the lake and thought it might be a bald eagle.
It was just a seagull. I guess they get to make nests too!
Looking back from the observation deck you can see the dining hall (left) and another building.
It’s pretty scenic, but the permafrost does an amazing job each year of skewing the buildings and generally wreaking havoc with the roads and floors. The camp is hoping to move the camp center (mostly the dining hall) to up on the same level where the horse barn is. It’s a couple of years down the road, so meanwhile they’ve put up a “temporary” building to use for activities.
I think it’s working well for them!
But a walk around this camp didn’t only bring me to buildings and animals and Lake Li-Wa. (Here’s another lake shot I really like -)
But it also had a lovely selection of wildflowers along the way.
Back up the hill….
A good walk, and a nice quiet evening.
The sun should be setting about 12:32AM today (and it comes up just two and a half hours later at 3:08AM). This daylight thing is pretty crazy!
Off to the dark bedroom!
We’re getting settled here at Camp Li-Wa. It was our first full day and we spent part of it getting the lay of the land around Fairbanks. After weeks on the road where the average town had a gas station and a campground, it seems crazy to be able to shop at Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Fred Meyers ,and Safeway almost from the same parking lot! We checked out the local farmer’s market – lots of beautiful Alaskan crafts, home grown goodies, and wonderful baked goods.
After (We went for the cranberry-orange one! Yummmmmmm…..)
While the guys were checking out the Home Depot, we ladies located a couple quilt shops in the area –
And then we returned home to get laundry done, wash the road dirt off of the trucks and RV’s and get some group haircuts!
No pictures of ribbons of roads and spectacular snow capped mountains today – we are happy to be catching up with chores and exploring this area.
It is good to be still.
We have had the most beautiful days here NW Washington. And judging by all the press this beautiful weather has been getting – it’s the first stretch of nice days since last summer! Clear, sunny, 65+ during the days – just about perfect! And it sure is purrrty here! The camp itself is perched on a bluff above the Puget Sound – (you can see the water through the break in the trees in the picture above), and while where we are parked is a little more “utilitarian”, the giant pines and budding trees even dress up our little corner of the world.
Here are some shots of the views –
I’m not certain what mountain that is in the background – maybe Mt. Baker?
That’s one of the local eagles soaring above the Sound. He was enjoying the thermals!
So, just what have we been doing? Well, we ladies have been honing our skills as upholstery cleaners. They only have about a bazillion of these chairs –
and we are checking them all for any spots and then using a big truck-mounted cleaner to give them all a good spring cleaning. This building has about 350 chairs, and there are at least three other building with chairs for us to clean. Job security to be sure! Here is Pat, one of my Sower co-workers, working on her technique.
Probably the hardest part of the job is the loud engine that is running in the truck outside the door. 🙂
The guys are taking advantage of the warm (non-raining) weather and taking down a damaged roof over one of the playground areas.
I think they’ll be installing a new one – but I also think the rains are coming back tomorrow, so they might be moving to a kitchen remodel. It’s all about being flexible!
There is lots to see and do in this area – the San Juan Islands, Cascade Mountains, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, and of course the Sound itself (with numerous ferry rides). We’ll also be busy doing some final planning for our drive to Alaska in May. Important stuff – like what’s the best way to handle our money, which roads should we take north, and will I have to give up my maple syrup since it’s not in its original container? Maybe I should have started asking these hard questions a little bit sooner!
Or made pancakes more often. 🙂