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Big Lake Lodge – Memories of The Old, Update on The New

Big Lake Lodge – Memories of The Old, Update on The New

Memories of the Old
This past week I got to visit Big Lake Youth Camp. It had been a while since I had visited in the snow. I remember coming up here with our kids’ Pathfinder club just about every winter. We spent about half of the time playing out in the snow and the other half of our waking hours in the old A-frame looking lodge with snow piled up the roof. You had to descend the snowy steps down into the lodge.

Some winters you had more snow steps than others. As you entered the lodge you would hear the bustling of kids with snow gear on. As your gaze rose from the cold concrete floor and looked across the dimly lit room it would be filled with foldable “picnic tables” lined up in rows filling the open space. And you would see Pathfinders finding their place to sit with friends as a meeting was about to begin.

To one side of the lodge, the side that “Big Lake” is on, a foldable riser had been placed for the stage. It was pushed right up against the windows that were boarded up from the outside. This kept the snow from finding its way in. You couldn’t see out, so usually no sunlight made its way in.

As you looked up the steep pitch of the inside of the A-frame, and long before I started visiting the lodge, you could see where the old fireplace chimney had once exited the roof. Repairs had been made to the supporting structure, more than once.

To the north end of the hall you would see two large propane heaters hanging from the ceiling that gave some audible competition to the people speaking on stage. Oh, and don’t forget the big homemade wood burning barrel stove that was usually stoked with wood from the same person from one of the other Pathfinder clubs every year. It did take a good bit of fuel to keep the place warm since there wasn’t any insulation to speak of.

Update on the the New
While this old lodge made some good memories for thousands of us through the years, it was so good to see the progress of the new lodge being built. Ross von Pohle, facility manager at Big Lake, gave me a tour. As many of you have been watching the progress of the lodge being built on the webcam at www.BigLake.org you may not have been able to tell what is happening on the inside.

The biggest thing I noticed right off, from the outside, was the eves of the roof are at a two-story height. And on two sides of the lodge there are windows that span from the first floor up through the second-floor height of the big open room. And yes, one of those window walls looks out over “Big Lake” even if they have to cover the lower windows because of deep snow in the winter. There will be natural light that shines through the upper windows. So nice!

As you step inside, you notice how big, open, bright and spacious the lodge feels. The main room spans vertically from the main floor all the way up past the second-floor height to the vaulted ceiling. That same room is 21 feet wider on the north and south ends where the old lodge use to tapper in. The walls of windows are fantastic.

To handle the snow load, the walls are built with two 2x10 exterior wall studs nailed together every 16” and two 2x12 rafters nailed together in the roof every 16”. The depth of the wall cavities and the way the ceiling is framed leaves room for plenty of good insulation.

The kitchen is on the south end of the building as it was before. On the southeast side of the building, next to the kitchen, there is a hall that separates the kitchen from the, um… what should I call them - quarter baths, water closets, rooms with a toilet only, a loo room? There are five of them down this hallway each with their own door. At the beginning of the hall along the wall is a big sink that will accommodate multiple people washing hands. This should speed up the process of many kids being able to use the “facilities.”

Above the kitchen is a mezzanine that equals more space than the two combined that were at either end of the old lodge. This new mezzanine will have a folding pocket door providing one the ability to divide the one large area in half. Each half is prewired and ready for flat panel TV so this area can be used for a learning space. Off the southwest corner of the mezzanine is a second exit that will lead out to a deck that takes in the beautiful westerly view out over the lake.

Now jumping to the north end of the building. There are two sets of double doors that come directly into the big room flanking a wood burning fireplace with a chimney that goes all the way up the wall and out the roof. It is 26’-7” from the floor to the peak of the ceiling.

For those of you that are asking if this space will accommodate the beloved 4-way volleyball. Yes, they have poured extra concrete where the volleyball net post pockets will be put into the floor. And the nets will now be held up by actual volleyball posts instead of tied to the walls.

Currently they have the rough in electrical, plumbing, HVAC and the insulation in. They are in the process of hanging the sheetrock. Did I mention they are not only going to have central heating, but also air conditioning available? It was actually quite comfortable as I was walking around in the lodge with just a construction heater going. With all that insulation, it should be easy to maintain a comfortable temperature year-round.

I can hardly wait to see the finished product! They are on track to finish before summer camp starts in July this year. Send your kids to camp this year so you can have a chance to see the new lodge!

So far, $1.7 million has been raised for the new lodge. We need your help in raising the remaining $1.3 million. Thank you so much for your support and prayers! It wouldn’t be possible without you!

Here are some dimensions of the new lodge (rounded down to the closest foot):

• New Lodge dimensions - 111’x59’

• Dimensions of the big open room in the lodge - 67’x59’

• Mezzanine dimensions - 59’x27’

• Floor to ceiling peak - 26’

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