Who in their right mind would build down there? There have been so many times over the last 6 years that I have had to bare that question. Friends, other off-griders, neighbors, hell I’ve muttered it under my breath, and screamed it out over the valley in frustration hundreds upon hundreds of times. Putting on an Emmy winning display of child like explosive temper tantrums that leave my wife both speechless and mildly amused. Never the less, when the tears stop, the blood clots, the pain subsides, I catch my breath, and my Irish temper takes a back seat, I still drop the load from my shoulders, turn around and hike back up for the next round. Damn that hill, I mean it. I hate that pile of earth. I don’t know how my wife, whom has joined me now in the human propelled migration of lumber and home depot loot down the mountain, participates with so much grace, but I’m learning in our first year of marriage that there are going to be a lot of those mysteries. Its obvious that the feud the hill and I have going is a mystery to her. She thinks its funny when I slip and drop an arm load of rebar and have to go digging through deadfalls to un-nest it. Its no laughing matter this little war, I assure you. I have descended that damn thing safely thousands of times loaded so heavy with lumber or concrete that my knees strain and threaten to buckle with each step. Only to slip on wet bear grass on the way to a job interview, tumble ten feet, and stain my only clean pair of pants. At one point in the early stages of the project, I had nearly 5 trailers worth of lumber and materials stacked and tarped up at the road waiting, taunting me from 73 feet above, two flights of stairs, and three switch backs strewn out over 317 steps. Damn. That. Hill.
This year Steph and I finally had the opportunity to have an excavation company come out and give us a bid on building a drive way down to the cabin. The project will cost more than buying the land cost me six years ago. It will take nearly two weeks of work for an excavator, dump truck and bulldozer crew. They will dump over 100 trucks of fill and crush over the edge, cut down a dozen 100 year old trees, add a retaining wall, and bury that hill that I despise so much in well, dirt, ashes to ashes style. Up until then I wanted nothing more than to kill and bury that monolith that has been the source of so much agony and frustration over the years, but upon hearing the foreman’s plan for its assassination, my wife and I looked at one another, and decided that we could put up with it for just another year. As much as we hate it, we love what it adds to our little homestead. Its a 73 foot wall of privacy. Rather than looking at the few cars that go by on the road and choking on the dust, we look at a lush green mountainside full of chest high ferns and box wood. We pick gallons of Huckleberries and Saskatoons from it every June and July. It continually keeps us in competitive hiking shape, and it is by far the best security system there can be for an off the grid wilderness home. After all who in their right mind would carry anything worth stealing up that god forsaken hill?