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Archive for July, 2011

Placid Lake Ghost Trees

July 27th, 2011

We didn’t find huckleberries at Placid Lake as we thought we would but we did take another nice drive today. We let the doggies (Kali and Max) swim, had a picnic lunch overlooking the lake, and drove around taking photos of the Ghost Trees. These are so interesting. The trees were logged out around 1910. Two loggers would cut a slice into the tree about 4 to 5 feet off the ground, insert a “spring” board into the cut out part on both sides of the tree, then hop up on the board to cut the tree about 8 to 10 feet up. They did this because the “butt” of the tree is full of sap and too heavy to float down the rivers to the mill. If they didn’t get enough of the butt cut off the tree the log would sink before it made its way across the lake or rivers to the mill down at Bonner. Apparently the loggers had a good sense of humor because they painted the faces on the trees after everything was logged out. The mouth is where the spring board was inserted. Some of the original painted faces are still visible and untouched for over 100 years, some have been repainted to show people how they might have looked. I think we must have spotted a couple dozen visible from the road. Some people think the ghosts of some of the loggers lurk among these old tree stumps.

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angie History, Placid Lake, Things To Do

Some History from a Previous Owner

July 19th, 2011

Fred Thompson, who owned the Tamaracks Resort from 1965 - 1973, recently visited us and sent us this short history.

OWNERSHIP OF THE TAMARACKS RESORT (1965 - 1973)

In 1964 my wife, Ingrid, and I drove up from Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Missoula to sign a contract to purchase The Tamaracks Resort in Seeley Lake, Montana, from Evan Kimmel and his wife. We took possession in September 1965 upon my retirement from the United States Army.

With the help of my mother and stepfather and Ingrid’s mother and father we operated the resort for the next 5 years while I was pursuing degrees at the University of Montana and the University of Washington. At the end of the 1970 season, when I began teaching at the University of Montana, we sold The Tamaracks on a contract for deed. At the end of the 1971 season the purchasers were unable to make their payment, so we retook possession. We sold again at the end of the 1972 season, but once again the purchasers were unable to make their first annual payment. We sold again prior to the 1973 season and this time the purchasers were able to meet the terms of the contract for sale. We were then free to pursue other dreams.

During our tenure most of our customers had been coming to The Tamaracks for years, either as parents, children or grandchildren. We kept the old customers coming and added others by making some improvements.

We built a beautiful, floating T-shaped dock to replace the shaky and decrepit stake-supported dock. We purchased four very stable, aluminum Lund boats out of Minnesota and retired the leaky, wooden row boats which had come with our purchase of the resort. We equipped the boats with outboard motors and rented them to our guests.

I cleared away the brush along the shoreline in front of the Clubhouse, and - using my 1961 3/4 ton GMC - hauled truckload after truckload of sand to form the resort’s first beach. (Leisure Lodge at the southern end of the lake had a more-or-less natural beach and I thought we too should have one, even if it had to be man-made.)

The Saddle Shop was used for storage and as a workshop. It had never been chinked, so I spent many tedious hours completing that task. In spite of his tender age my son, Nial, helped me in the Saddle Shop and throughout the resort.

Jim Darlington, who owned a ranch located east of Kozy Korner, leased us four horses each season for rental to our guests. Pepper, the smallest horse, bit one of our guests in the belly, while Mick, the biggest horse, brought Ingrid to tears of fury and frustration when he strolled through and snagged three lines holding the freshly washed linen from all the cabins. On a lighter note, much too often the would-be riders, lacking any hint of equestrian experience, were unable to motivate the horses, which consequently just stood there, adamantly refusing to move.

I added four slots for travel trailers, but they had to be self-contained, because the sites had neither electricity nor sewage.

When Ingrid’s mother, Nial’s Oma, fell into a cesspool behind the Clubhouse, Nial alerted us by shouting at the top of his lungs: “Hilfe! Die Oma ist in die Kloakengrube gefallen!” We provided the requested helped and hosed “die Oma” down so that she could be allowed to enter the Main Lodge (in which we maintained a dining room where we sometimes served as many as 65 guests.

Opa, Ingrid’s father, who was in his seventies, once tumbled off the end of the dock. Thinking that I would save him, I grabbed his legs, lifted them into the air, and held on tightly. Unfortunately I was not strong enough to lift him out and he, in turn, was unable to get his head out of the water. When I finally realized what was happening, I threw his feet and body into the water and pulled him out by the arms. Despite the horrific sputtering and intense recriminations, we both survived to laugh about it in the years to come.

Our guests enjoyed the Recreation Lodge, which housed a juke box, a pool table, and a player piano. On rainy days or evenings we would light a fire in the huge fireplace, but even then it was showing signs of deterioration. I populated the interior and exterior with the antlers of deer and elk I had taken on Rice Ridge or up Black Canyon, some of which I left hanging, when we sold the resort.

They were still there, when my sweetheart, Fran, and I visited The Tamaracks in June, 2011. We were both impressed by the improvements that had thus far been made by the current owners. We wish them every success.

angie Guests, History