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Thread: Pics of my Mtn Survival Retreat

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Default Pics of my Mtn Survival Retreat

    Here are some pics of what I have done on my mtn survival retreat from mid June to Nov. 1st. I have spent every year on this mtn place for the last ten years for about five months, sometimes staying up there until mid Nov. Then I have to go back to Greeley, CO for the winter until June. I really dislike city life but have to make some money to pay the property taxes and be able to buy supplies to be able to Live the way I want and need to live on my mtn retreat.

    I could go into great detail about each pic but hopefully the title - caption on each thumbnail pic is enough. If anyone has any questions or comments about anything on this thread please post. Btw, I am not bragging about anything I do or have built. Just sharing some experiences.

    I could explain each pic but the title on each pic hopefully will be enough to tell what it is about. People can also use their imagination when looking at these pics. Such as imagine how the terrain can be used to the best advantage. Especially my hillside looks down on the private road. Some days there is no traffic but on weekends there can be a dozen or more vehicles.

    I like to sit up on the hillside and watch wildlife & human traffic and usually freeze when traffic comes down the road and I think no one sees me unless I move.

    Anyone can ask me anything about these pics and my mtn survival retreat. Also any comments or suggestions on how to improve my retreat will be welcome.

    I am just trying show how it is possible to build a retreat with little money. I paid $8,000 for the 3 and 1/2 acres in 1987 and have spent maybe $4,000 since building and Living on my mtn place.
    Two sides of my land are bordered by a million acre national forest. I am not showing Everything but these pics should give you a good idea what I have done, building everything by myself, with few tools. Such as hammer, shovels, chainsaw, ax etc.

    These pics are in chronological order, for the most part, beginning in mid June 2009, when I got back up to my mtn place to Nov. 1st when I left.

    There are at least 54 pics in several posts just on this first page in case any wish to see All the pics >
    Last edited by Mtnman Mike; 02-04-2010 at 02:50 AM.


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    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Seems that there is a limit of five pics to each post. It says: "You have uploaded the maximum of 5 files." I have about a hundred pics but will limit it today. Maybe post fifty or more in this thread if any wish to see them all.

    Here are more pics showing what I did to get ready to live on my retreat all summer until November. After I filled the 6 gallon container from the spring on my land, I filled the Big Berkey water filter. I used this filter everyday, even twice a day, from June to Nov.

    Also showing the 3 solar panels on top of a tree stump. The 12 volt battery etc. is in a box behind the stump.

    These other pics show a couple wood piles that I cut and later split. I have an overabundance of dead trees for building a future cabin and for firewood.

    The fire shown is of when I burned the waste out of the outhouse. I remove the plastic sheet walls then burn which is best since I do not want to put an outhouse in other places around my land, for now anyway.
    Last edited by Mtnman Mike; 12-24-2009 at 05:26 AM. Reason: adding more pics

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Here are a couple pics of my large woodshed, the front and side view. This woodshed is like a pole barn, which I used about 100 poles and logs from trees on and near my land.
    There are also 7 live trees as part of this shed. Maybe most of you can tell which are the live trees. One is a very large Engelmann Spruce tree. When the wind blows the shed does creak but it has withstood more than ten years of harsh winters - up to 12 feet of snowpack.

    I also have quite a few pics of my springs. But will only post the best ones. The most water in the springs is when the snow is melting from May to around mid July. By early Sept. there is much less water and in dry years only have one spring. But that one main spring has never dried up and is usually from 3 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet deep in June to about 2 feet wide and 1/2 a foot deep by Sept.

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    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjj View Post
    Mike,

    Kind sir, could I get you to post just "one" of the final pictures. Did you build that private road yourself? If so, with what equipment?

    P.S. - Its so cool to see someone using a Berkey on a daily basis (and you got a deal if I recall).
    Thanks for the questions. I love answering questions about my survival retreat since I almost never have anyone who is interested in "real" life.

    I did not build the private road. It was built around 1975 i believe, and when I bought my mtn land in 1987 there were only 4 other cabins up there. Now in 2009 there are at least 25 cabins within a couple miles of my place. The nearest cabin is at least 1/3 of a mile downhill.
    There is one lot across the road, downhill, that is for sale though.

    This private road begins at the state highway a mile away and goes in a circle and is at least 2 miles in length. There are also a couple dead end off shoots. My land is the highest of any of the lots in this "sub-division" which the developers call it. I call it a suburb of the ghost town of Battle, Wyoming, which is a little over half a mile up hill.

    I was also the only one of all the people who own land and have built cabins who has not used a bull dozer. I have a 60 plus year old logging road on which I built my first shed and have my driveway/parking place.

    And the pic of my Big Berkey shows a green sticker in the upper right corner which Maybe some can see. That sticker I left on the box and it says $10 which is the price I paid for this Big Berkey drip filter with 4 ceramic filters, which were wrapped new in the box. Also one extra ceramic filter. I can tell no one ever used it. Possibly they got it as a present or maybe even for y2k? I love garage sales and almost half of everything I own has been bought at a sale.

    I also have a Berkey light which I had to pay about $200 for. The Big Berkey I believe, costs over $250 new.

    Also I have the pics in order in a folder on my computer. I will probably run out of room for there is a limit, I think, on the amount of pics one can post?
    But I am not sure what you mean a final pic. Just have to be patient. But for those who have not seen my homepage where I have many pics with much info here it is > http://mtnmanmike.angelfire.com/mtnm...ivate-road?i=0

    About all the pics I am posting in this thread are new from this past summer and fall and not on my homepage site which I made about a year ago.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NightShade's Avatar
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    Looks like a slice of heaven to me!... In addition to being more affordable to do the work yourself, I imagine you would get a much higher sense of "satisfaction" out of it. I'm looking into buying a large piece of land in either Maine or Nrthrn N.H... Or really anywhere remote I can find in New England, for a hunting camp, or vacation/survival retreat.
    I intend on building it myself.. And forcing my son into "slave labor"..... You can bet i'll be picking your brain when the time comes!
    For now, I'm wondering... What do you use for a heat source and cooking source?... I was thinkin of using a spare wood stove I have in the basement when I build my "slice of heaven"
    "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" - Patrick Henry

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    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    I have many pics of my underground cabin/bunker but maybe post those later.

    Here are some interesting pics of the bothersome bear who came around off and on from mid Sept. to about Nov. I tried to get the best pics I could with the cheap disposable camera I had. Maybe next year I will use a digital camera although I think the pics will disappear if the batteries go dead? MAYbe I could upload pics to my email at the Encampment, Wyoming library which is 12 miles downhill.

    This bear did quite a bit of damage and I was angry that he tore up a couple of my tents. Although he did not tear up my sleeping tent, which I have a strong wire fence around it.
    Some have said I should have shot the bear but I was never afraid of him and he was a somewhat rare cinnamon brown bear, which I had never seen one that color before. I like to live and let live anyway.

    The only time I have ever heard of anyone getting killed by a black bear was 10 or more years ago when a guy shot it which just made it mad and it killed the guy. The guy could have just went back inside his trailer but no he had to wound it.

    The following pics are self-explanatory I hope, by reading the title - captions. Although any questions asked, I will answer.

  7. #7
    Senior Member NightShade's Avatar
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    If you buy a digital camera, you don't lose pics when battery dies... There stored either in internal memory ir on some models a small memory card disk you slide in usually close to the batteries... I used to use film exclusively.. But since going digital I don't think I could go back!
    "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" - Patrick Henry

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    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightShade View Post
    For now, I'm wondering... What do you use for a heat source and cooking source?... I was thinkin of using a spare wood stove I have in the basement when I build my "slice of heaven"

    Not sure if I will post anymore pics today. Maybe tonight. If any know me they know I am very patient. One reason it has taken me since 1987 to build what I have on my retreat. Although I have only seriously been building since 1999. The first 12 years I was not up there some years except for only a couple days. And I hiked about every where within five to ten miles in every direction. Finding old mine shafts, pits etc. etc.

    There is also a Fifty thousand plus acre pure wilderness area called Huston Park designated wilderness a mile to the south of my mtn place.

    About a heat source is the first structure I built in 1988 was a campfire pit. I still have it and it is about the only place I can safely have a campfire since there are so many trees around.

    I have done some primitive camping especially the first 12 years but the last ten years I have concentrated on a bunker, sheds, caching supplies etc. And beginning to build a small - 12x14 foot cabin on the hillside where I can see the beautiful Snowy Range mountains about 30 miles to the east.

    I do have 4 woodstoves. One 55 gallon drum stove which really puts out the heat but also burns too much wood.

    Inside the bunker are two woodstoves. One on each end of the bunker. A Franklin stove and a small airtight stove by the back trap door. Maybe I will post some pics although on my homepage are quite a few pics of some of that.

    I cook on a Coleman dual fuel stove, only using unleaded gas since the Coleman fuel is more than twice the cost of unleaded.

    I sometimes cook on a campfire or woodstove but the Coleman stove is the easiest and fastest to cook on. I have too much to do such as work for neighbors cutting trees etc. etc. and building my own retreat...

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightShade View Post
    If you buy a digital camera, you don't lose pics when battery dies... There stored either in internal memory ir on some models a small memory card disk you slide in usually close to the batteries... I used to use film exclusively.. But since going digital I don't think I could go back!
    I like the cheap camera and at Wal-mart I just get the pics on a cd then put them on my computer.

    But thanks for telling me about the digital which I might use next year. Even have video if possible. Especially if I document the building of my newest cabin which will be built into the hillside with the windows above ground.

    But about a digital camera I wonder if it is way below freezing such as near zero if the camera would be Ok? I keep the cheap camera inside my pocket but it has gotten cold which has not seemed to hurt the pics. But I buy the cameras in early June then develop the pics around mid Nov.

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    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Ok a few more pics of the bear and some of the damage he did.
    I can go into more detail about these pics although the captions tell a bit.

    About the blurry pic and the bear paw is that I took that pic out the back window of my pickup truck. I had just finished eating inside the truck and it was starting to get dark a little before 6 pm - this was in late October.

    I felt the back end of the truck go way down and thought it must be the bear. He climbed up into the bed and put his paws on the toolbox which can be seen in the pic.
    This pic is blurry for it was real humid with condensation and melting snow outside.
    At least I got a good pic of his claws and paw.

    All for now since I have been putting these pics up for more than 2 hours. I just have slow dial up which I have to have since I am only on the net half the year and cannot get 1 or 2 year contracts for high speed internet...
    Last edited by Mtnman Mike; 12-24-2009 at 07:41 AM.

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    Senior Member NightShade's Avatar
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    I have never noticed adverse conditions due to the cold with mine, with the exception of a slightly shorter bttry life when in the cold for extended times..
    I hear ya with the cheap cameras though! One problem with mine is while its top of the line.. It was very expensive and I'm always worrying about breaking it or one of the lenses when I'm out and about.. That and the particular model is rather bulky to add to the pack..
    I still pick up a disposable from time to time especially when goin kayaking or camping for more than a few days.
    "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" - Patrick Henry

    A quest for knowledge is never complete.

    The only easy day was yesterday.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Nice pics. You can post up to 100 thumbnail pictures total. You can also upload pictures to your personal album on your profile page.
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    Senior Member 2dumb2kwit's Avatar
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    I agree with NightShade....It looks like a slice of heaven, to me. Thanks for showing it to us, MM.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Great pic's, good to see some one thats "doin'"
    Keep-em comming and thanks for sharing, they serve a san insperation for all of us, I'm sure.
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    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good comments although I welcome even criticism if any can find something to criticise or even better, something that I could do to improve my retreat.

    I could post at least 100 pictures just in this thread, probably won't but we shall see how this thread works out...

    Here are five more pics showing my container garden. I ate quite a bit spinach putting several leaves in the stew I cooked twice or more a week.
    But as seen in these pics, the bear stripped the broccoli and some other plants also.

    If/when I make a greenhouse I must try to make it bear proof if possible. I did have a greenhouse 7x12 feet in 1996 but had to take it down, for the heavy snows would have crushed it. I concentrate on many other things than gardening but have done quite a bit of that also.

    There are some berry bushes, mainly grouse berry and prickly currants. I planted raspberries on top of the bunker and should plant more berry bushes. I also have planted dandelions all over in the sunny areas of my land.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    These are about all the pics of the bear and the damage he did. I had heard that the bear got into a neighbor's cooler at their cabin a mile downhill from me. That bear got a frozen turkey and some other stuff. Much better than anything he got on my place. Although the broccoli was pretty good.

    I think the bear drank most of that anti-freeze for it was empty. I guess it did not make him sick. Next year I will have to keep anti-freeze etc. etc. locked in the large tool box.

    I have had other bears come thru mainly at night and tear apart tree stumps and turn over rocks to get insects, mainly ants with all their eggs. But this bear was the worst and even bit into cans. Must have been into campgrounds before he came up high to my area.

    If he comes around again I won't be as friendly to him although I yelled and chased him away 3 times. The last time I chased that bear uphill for at least half a mile. That is when I found his den as seen in the one pic above.

    I have a few animal pics but these are the best ones below.
    I think I have seen every Rocky Mountain animal there is on or near my mtn place but not a grizz, mtn lion, wolverine or lynx. Just as soon not see a grizz

    The last pic with the bear and guy in the back of the truck is the only pic not taken by me but I just had to add it.

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    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Not sure if too many will be interested in pics of my underground shelter/bunker but here they are in case a few would like to see them.

    Any questions will be answered as well as I am able to answer.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Going inside the underground shelter/bunker.

    The bear tried to get inside and scratched the steel door and knocked over the outside stovepipe but could not get in.

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    Senior Member Mtnman Mike's Avatar
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    Here is the roof of the bunker. Showing the layers and the finished roof. Also the back trap door with many rocks and it took at least 60 eighty pound bags of concrete mix to make this 3 foot thick roof just around this back door.

    It took at least 250 eighty pound bags of concrete mix to make all of the roof and some walls. I carried them almost 200 feet up the mountain side about fifty feet above the private road. The bunker is at least 150 feet from the road.
    Last edited by Mtnman Mike; 12-26-2009 at 09:10 AM.

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