Cabin Life: Summer up in Tollgate Canyon

Living in Tollgate Canyon during the summer months is truly a dream! After such a harsh, seemingly endless, snowy winter, followed by a long, muddy spring, the summer weather was a saving grace. And with those warm summer days, comes endless opportunities to explore the mountain’s dirt roads, enjoy viewing the wildlife, and to live that true mountain lifestyle!

My favorite part of living in Tollgate during the summer is the endless opportunities for mountain biking, gravel biking, and trail running. At the end of the day, the neighborhood is on the side (and top) of a mountain that has a peak elevation over 9,000ft! I love making loops around the neighborhood off Arapaho, Elk Road, and Valley Vista. Nearly every road takes you to a different aspect of the mountain that has its own personality. Some are remote with dense forest, others are developed with beautiful cabins. But all end up with incredible views of the Wasatch back and the Park City Ridgeline of ski resorts.  This summer, unlike last summer, I as able to manage my time much better and spent so much more time running and biking, which means I got to explore with Courtney and our dog Gregor too!

The mountain comes alive in summer too! The once empty roads and homes of winter, become filled with people. Don’t worry, not too many people to make the mountain feel overcrowded. Our friends and neighbors have barbecues and parties, to which you get to meet tons of other people on the mountain, growing your sense of community. The roads will also come a playground for everyone’s dirt bikes, side by sides, and toys alike. Sure, I get frustrated when I’m outside working all day and see the Tollgate weekenders having a blast on their motorbikes, but hey, that’s what this place is for. Tollgate is a place for fun, adventure, and memories.

Projects in and around the cabin are inseparable with a Tollgate summer. As I’ve written before, the roads and grounds are snow covered from the months of November til May. Which means we have a short window  from June til September/October to really get anything done. That includes staining the cabin logs that define so many of the properties up here. We also have to get to repairing the inevitable damage that winter does to the cabins and wooden decks. But it’s not all boring projects, because this year I started to build a mountain biking trail around the property! Despite only making 1/2 around the yard, because I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. Turns out, the soil on a mountain is filled with massive rocks and boulders that are quite difficult to build a trail around. Which is why, next year I’ll finally finish it!

Of course, I’d be remiss to write about Tollgate summers without mentioning the incredible wildlife. I know I always write about them and share photos, but I still haven’t gotten used to seeing them and living amount them. We had our resident bull and cow moose wandering about our yard. A highlight was seeing a family of badgers on the road when we were driving. A mama badger was running up the road behind three juveniles, and even turned around and showed her teeth and got defensive, to our truck. I’ve seen beards of elk, porcupine, and more deer than I can ever count.

The highlight for me this year was an instance at the wood pile. I was out picking up wood to burn for the year, when I heard a grunting sound coming from the other side of the wood pile. After climbing up to the top, to see where the sound was coming from, I came nearly face to face with a huge bull moose. I was able to get a fantastic video of him grazing on oak leaves and then grunting as he walked away. Always something new!

Lastly, and probably the most obvious part of a Tollgate summer that makes this place worth living, is the weather. Similar to Park City, but far from Salt Lake, the weather in Tollgate is perfect. From June through September, the temperatures are warm in the days 70s to 80s and cool in the nights around the 50s. Never too hot that you’d need air conditioning. And the sun is so strong during the day at 8,000 feet in elevation, which is perfect for people like my wife who are solar charged. And in most years, unlike this past summer, it remains perfectly dry all summer long allowing for endless adventures every day until the sun sets at nearly 9:30PM!

All this to say, the summer in Tollgate is amazing! And I can’t wait for the next one! We just have to get through the next 8-9 months of snow, and there will be warm temps and long days on the horizon!

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