to a yurt
Monday, December 18 2006
setting: rural Hurley Township, New York
Today Gretchen and I drove up to the Adirondacks to spend a couple days in a yurt owned and operated by Falls Brook Yurts. They're one of the best options available to people who need lodging for their dogs, so we'd brought both of ours as well as our elderly cat Marie.
The drive took us about two hours north of home on I-87 and west somewhat on back roads to the town of Minerva. After parking the car at a trailhead, we started the seven-tenths of a mile hike to our yurt. Having brought a cat (in a cat carrier), art supplies, cat litter, a litter box, and enough food and water for our entire stay, we were carrying a lot of cargo. I'd brought along a little four-caster trolley to help us drag our stuff down the trail. But the slope was steep and rugged, with long muddy patches and a fording of a creek. Somehow we managed to pull that cart most of the way, but eventually we were so exhausted and frustrated we abandoned the damn thing.
as with all yurts, ours was a round structure with peaked central roof. It measured about twenty feet across and featured a four foot wide bubble-shaped central skylight. Staying here would have been impossible were it not for a propane heater, but there was no electricity at all. Once night fell, we were forced to light a gas lamp which burned unexpectedly brightly, with the gas flame causing a mesh of some sort of special material to incandesce with a bright white light.
Marie rapidly acclimated to her temporary quarters, spending nearly all her time luxuriating in the upper bunks (where the bulk of the propane heater's heat ended up). Those bunks were a nice place for reading, though periodically they'd become uncomfortably hot from the heat necessary to keep the lower parts of the yurt comfortable. Meanwhile the particle board floor, which wasn't insulated, never seemed to be any warmer than about 40 degrees. Unable to scale the ladder to the bunks, the dogs had to make do with a futon and the lower beds.
When we eventually became hungry we made one of our boxes of dehydrated rice-based foods, but it wasn't quite substantial enough for me. I agitated for us to maybe go out and get a pizza in Minerva, an errand we would have attempted if a light snow hadn't started falling. It was a good thing we didn't actually go; that pizza place turned out to have been closed the entire time we were staying in the yurt.
Marie adjusts to the yurt soon after we arrive.
Me and Eleanor in the yurt. That expandable-gate thing in the background provides all the wall structure needed for the yurt. The roof is held up by a wagon-wheel of two by four rafters running from the central skylight to a compressive circumferential cable.
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