Are you Shack Happy? Ski into Many Glacier

We have had a long bout of below zero in the Golden Triangle. Many of us spent a lot of time inside and, as a result, many of us have an old fashioned case of what is called in the Yukon, Shack Fever or to put it another way, we are Shack Happy. That simply means you have been in the shack with your buns and your bread far too long.

What to do about it; that is the question?

Happily there are many various remedies for this dreaded illness.

They fall into two different categories. Go away if you can and if you are stuck in your shack, do something different while in that shack.

One thing I have done for about a month now is to make a new and different soup each week. It might be a split pea and ham or a chowder or chicken noodle or vegetable beef or something far different than any of those.

What does soup do for Shack Fever you might ask? It specifically does seven things, and some must be good for Shack Fever. Here are the magical properties of soup.

One soup box says soup relieves your hunger, quenches your thirst, fills your stomach, cleans your teeth, makes you sleep, helps you digest and colors your cheeks. Gentle readers it just does not get any better than that.

Speaking of eating, I remember one summer I went with Grandma Lucke to visit her sister at Raven, Alberta. That sister made a huge cobbler for dinner. It was made in a large oven proof bowl filled with various berries and peaches and covered with a light as air pastry topping. I have been trying to replicate that dish using puff pastry and several kinds of berries and peaches. I am nowhere close to making it like Grandma Lucke's sister but I am getting closer and it is fun and very very good to eat my cobblers on a weekly basis. Now that takes away Shack Fever.

When in the shack, play board games each night instead of looking at the boob tube, put puzzles together and most important have a couple of glasses of brandy before going to bed. That is going to make the most decrepit shack look much better!

If you can get away do. If you get to Great Falls and stay a couple of days at the O'Haire Manor where you can watch the mermaids splash and splatter in the Sip and Dip room, that should do wonders when you get back home.

I know of one family who loved to cross country ski. They found a day that was warm but the snow was not melting. They parked theircar at Babb on US 89, took a lunch filled with donuts and maple bars and bear claws and cross country skied into Many Glacier hotel. When there they gave their sweets to the winter caretaker. He showed them the hotel, regaled them with terrible ghost stories he had seen during the winter and they came back home refreshed and happy they had done something so neat and outrageous and fun. No more Shack Fever in that house.

I have been known to take off around this time of the year for a long weekend at Zortman. I stay in the old log Buckhorn Cabins, have my meals and a libation or several at the Zortman Restaurant and bar.

I love to go there because when I was in high school, my friends and I used to drive to Zortman and spend the weekend and there was always a dance with the most wonderful fiddle music you have ever heard. In those days there were still very old hard rock miners in the Little Rockies and they would come down for those Saturday night dances. I will never forget them and when I am having a drink and eating a big fat steak at the Zortman Restaurant these days, you know I can almost hear that wonderful music to this day. No more Shack Fever for me when I get home.

I have told you about this one before but it is so good, it will maybe take away two years worth of Shack Fever in one fell swoop. First consider the facts of the situation. You worked hard all through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. And as you get older it isn't getting any easier. You deserve a break when Shack Fever hits.

Don't walk but run to your telephone and call for reservations at Whitefish Mountain or what used to be Big Mountain.

You are not there to ski but if you do that, it is even better. You are there to rent a ski lodge with a glorious view looking up at the skiers and down to Whitefish and Flathead Lakes. You want a fireplace in your unit and a state of the art kitchen and as many windows as possible. Remember the closer to the end of the ski season you rent this lodge, the less it is going to cost you. Eat high on the hog on the mountain and for the best spaghetti and meatballs you will ever want look up Ciao Mambo in downtown Whitefish.

You will come back refreshed and ready to do more work just to get to go back to Whitefish Mountain!

There are two other forms of habitation in Montana that can be utilized in the winter. Well, three, really. One is very traditional and two are very unconventional. First the traditional. Most Forest Service land in Montana is filled with log cabins that can be rented out winter and summer. Some are large and some are small. I have seen several in Northwest Montana. The good thing about these abodes is that the price the Forest Service charges for them is not much and you even have a wood box filled with wood to start you off. Lots of family fun can be had in those cabins. Drive in when renting in the summer. Ski in these days,

There are several Yurt camps around Montana. Yurts are large canvas structures, usually being very tall and very fun to live in. You can find any kind of Yurt but some are very lavishly decorated and will stay warm in the coldest of weather.

Lastly, there is luxury camping. I think there is one of these camps by Phillipsburg where they set up tents and lavishly decorate them. Even though most are best in summer, there are some that are rented in the winter too. It is like living in the home of a sheik in a far away dessert until you go outside, then you are in a wonderful Montana winter scene and you will no longer have shack fever!