April, 2003 Progress Report

The wettest spot in Montana is 12 miles northeast of Bozeman (i.e., approximately at Bridger Bowl Ski Area), with an average annual precipitation of 35.15 inches (much is in the annual 300-400 inches of snow). This spot is approximately 8 miles north of Bridger Canyon Lodge.

[Note, the average annual precipitation for Seattle is 38.27 inches.]


Gary traveled to Bozeman April 24-25 to walk with the road contractor along the stakes put in for the planned driveway, finalize the Carriage House plans and review the initial concepts for the Main House. In order to start the bidding process for power and phone, contractor Kevin had to establish our official address with the county: 7001 Bridger Canyon Road is how we will be known.

The driveway will require major surgery to the land. There are a number of considerations, including keeping the average grade at or below 10%, staying far enough from the creek to avoid environmental impact issues with the state, and trying to damage as little of the landscape as we can. This is complicated by the fact that we want to make sure that guests who may not be used to traveling on exposed mountain roads in the winter will feel comfortable, so the road is wider than would normally be the case for a single family drive, and will have guard rails for about 600 feet of the more exposed sections.

(click on photos below to see a larger version)


Kevin and Dave walk up to the Main House site from the Carriage House site, approximately along the surveyed road. Obviously, things are a lot greener than the last time we visited!

Kevin approaches the Carriage House site; the new road will pretty much coincide with the original trail here. Compare this with the February photo taken from a bit further back.

About halfway down from the Carriage House, the new road will be higher than the existing track, and fairly exposed.

Here, we discuss some of the issues where the road builder has to be careful to avoid getting any soil into the creek.

Looking southwest along the highway from where the driveway will be located. The highway department is concerned about the sight distance, so work needs to be done on the berm at the curve.

Looking northeast along the highway from where the driveway will be located. The sight distance here is still a problem, but the highway department is less concerned.

While we were hiking up and down the road, we saw a wild turkey and heard grouse. No deer or elk were in evidence; they have probably moved to higher elevations with the coming of spring.

We were very fortunate in that the weather was threatening for the 3 hours we spent inspecting the property. Just as we were getting back into our cars, it started to pour rain.


There are still many fine details to decide on the Carriage House, but we now have a set of plans Kevin can work from. The floor plans are posted in the March report. The details for this trip included some of the finer points of window placement and a first cut at wiring.

We reviewed the conceptual plans for the Main House with architect Van Bryan. Architecture is definitely the art of compromise, as one is forced to the realization that 3 dimensions are simply not enough to arrange things the way you would like them to be. Not to mention worrying about how much it's going to cost! We're still a couple of months away from having anything we're willing to share on the web site.