Before Driving Up


  • Pack flashlights (if arriving after dark)

  • Check the weather. The cabin is at 7000 feet elevation, so weather tends to change rapidly. If it's snowing, there can be a lot of traffic and areas where chains or 4WD are required.


During winter months...

  • Pack chains or bring a 4WD vehicle

  • Print your parking passes. Contact Tory for the link.

  • Pack Get skis, snowshoes, and sleds to move yourselves and your belongings to the cabin over snow after parking (it's about a 1/4mi walk, which can be covered in deep snow)

Cabin Address: 270 Lake Mary Rd, Truckee, CA 96161


Please obey ALL parking signs and DO NOT use our neighbors' driveways as overflow parking or turn-around areas.

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Upon Arrival

Let Yourself in

  1. Use the combination code Tory shared with you to open the front door to the cabin

Turn on the Power

  1. Verify that the hot water tank is unplugged

  2. Go to the left of the wood-stove and find the large main circuit breaker

  3. Switch the main breaker on, leaving the other switches alone. You should now be able to turn on any of the lights

  4. Plug in the refrigerator (plug should be hanging to left of fridge)

Turn on the Water​ (Winter)

  1. Close the two green valves beneath the sink.  The handles will be perpendicular to the pipes when closed, per the image below.
  2. Open the all taps in the kitchen and mudroom sinks

  3. Verify that the hot water tank is unplugged

  4. Open the blue valve beneath the sink. The handle will be parallel to the pipe when open, per the image below. This valve requires a little extra force to open all the way. A sign that you didn't open it all the way is that water will flow very slowly from the taps in steps 6 and 7.

  5. Turn circuit breaker #11 to the ON position (can be found in the electrical panel by the wood stove). You should hear the pump start in the basement.

  6. Wait for cold water to run in the mudroom and kitchen sinks, then close both cold taps

  7. Wait for hot water to run from the mudroom and kitchen sinks, then close both hot taps

  8. Plug in the hot water tank (hot water will be available in about an hour)

Green valves under sink
Blue valve under sink

Warm the Bathroom (Winter)

  1. Turn on the space heater in the bathroom and come back in half an hour. IMPORTANT: If you must use the toilet while you are waiting for it to thaw, make sure you do not flush or you will likely break the plastic flushing valve.

  2. Check that the bathroom’s waste bin is lined with a fresh bag. If not, find a bag in the bathroom or in the kitchen and insert it into the waste bin.


Heat the Cabin (Winter)

Start by lighting the wood stove by the back wall of the cabin (NOT the stone fireplace).

  1. Check that ashes in the wood stove are cold

  2. Remove cold ashes and dump into steel bins on the front porch

  3. Add 4 or 5 fist-sized balls of crumpled newspaper to the stove (get paper from beside the stone fireplace)

  4. Pile a few handfuls of kindling loosely  over the newspaper in a teepee fashion (get kindling from beside the stone fireplace)

  5. Fully open the air valve (slide the handle beneath the stove all the way to the right)

  6. Ignite the newspaper and slowly close the glass door so it's open by only an inch or two

  7. Once the kindling is all burning, start feeding the fire with hard wood (just one small log to begin with). Keep the glass door closed when not adding wood from now on.

  8. Once the first log is burning briskly, continue to feed the fire with hard wood.

  9. Once the cabin is warm, adjust the air valve to the left to cause the fire to burn more slowly (closed=handle to the left=low burn, partially open=handle in the middle=medium burn, fully open=handle to the right=high burn)

IMPORTANT: Do not burn any soft wood or other flammable materials in the stove. Use hardwood only (with newspaper to light).

Operating the Cabin

General Rules

The cabin is a treasured place with sentimental value to countless Dartmouth Alums. Treat it as an heirloom and please don't do silly things that could endanger it.

  • DO fully extinguish the fireplace and wood stove before leaving the cabin

  • DO wait to remove ashes from the fireplace and wood stove until they are cold (they should be cool enough to touch).

  • DO NOT burn candles

  • DO NOT smoke in the cabin or on the decks

The Bathroom

The toilet is currently disconnected from its water input to prevent freezing, so no water will flow when you flush. You can "flush" it manually by pouring in small quantities of water with the plastic pitchers next to the toilet. You should occasionally add a few tablespoons (okay not to measure) of liquid holding-tank cleaner when you flush to help manage unwanted odors.


IMPORTANT: Do not put any toilet paper or other products down the toilet. Dispose of toilet paper and other trash in the waste bin only.

IMPORTANT: Use as little water when flushing as possible. All toilet waste water is store in a tank that can overflow if too much liquid enters through regular cabin use throughout the year.


The Fireplace

The fireplace is great for ambience, but contributes little heat. Lighting the fireplace before the stove also makes it very difficult to light the stove due to the ventilation properties of the cabin, so if you plan to light the wood stove and the fireplace at the same time, you should light the wood stove first.

Steps to start a fire:

  1. Use newspaper and kindling to start a small fire in the fireplace

  2. Gradually feed the fire with soft wood. Softwood is light and is stacked next to the fireplace, and more can be passed up from the basement. If there is no softwood available, then do not use the fireplace at all.

  3. Place the metal fire screen in front of the fireplace for safety, except when feeding the fire. Plan your use of the fireplace so that there is no active fire and no unburnt wood remaining in the fireplace when you depart.

IMPORTANT: Do not put any hard wood other flammable materials in the fireplace. Use soft wood only.


Sleeping Arrangements​

There are enough (new!) mattresses for about a dozen folks. The cabin does have sheets, pillows and pillowcases, but we also suggest bringing your own sleeping bag (and a sleeping pad if you would like to sleep outdoors on the deck or beach). It can be quite cold in the cabin at night during the snow season, particularly if there isn't enough snow to help insulate the cabin walls.

Sports Equipment

Bring whatever sports equipment you need (e.g. climbing gear, skis/skins, snowshoes, hiking boots, mountain bike, etc.). Note that in the snow season, you'll have to walk to the cabin. Due to deep snow, we recommend that you hike in on snowshoes or skis. The cabin has its own canoe with two lifejackets and paddles as well as a swell set of horseshoes.

Landline Phone

The cabin does have a phone number: (530) 426-0413. You may use it if you still can remember how to use one of those contraptions. There is no answering machine or voicemail service, and it is sometimes difficult for people in the cabin to hear the ringer. When placing a call to the cabin, be sure to let the phone ring for a long time before you give up.


It wouldn't be a Dartmouth Cabin without a place to make meals for massive amounts of people! The cabin has a full working kitchen, including a refrigerator/freezer, stove, and a sink with running water. Cooking sets and utensils are unnecessary as the kitchen is fully stocked with anything you'd need: plates, bowls, cups, coffee filters and a pot, serving bowls and platters, a small microwave, silverware, cooking pans and pots, etc. The cabin also has two large plastic bins to help with food storage (in addition to the cupboards). Only the tightly shut bins can be guaranteed mice-free. We haven't had a bad problem with mice in the cupboards recently, but it can happen.

Cell Signal & Internet Access

AT&T phones seem to get a few bars of LTE at the cabin. The cabin does not have WiFi.


Pets are allowed, but please be sure to keep your pets well-mannered and respect anyone with allergies on non-exclusive weekends. Also, please respect any requests regarding your pets that might come from the neighbors. There are a few other cabins on Lake Mary, and it's imperative that we keep up good relations. You are responsible for cleaning up after your pet. Be considerate.

When You Leave the Cabin

Plan ahead to spend at least an hour preparing the cabin before you leave. You will be charged $120 if you leave the cabin untidy.

Departure Checklist​

  • Firewood

    • Restock the softwood pile next to the fireplace​

    • Restock the  hardwood pile next to the wood stove

    • There's a​ small trapdoor to transfer wood from the basement into the living room located next to the softwood pile by the fireplace.

    • Restock the kindling next to the fireplace by chopping more softwood either outdoors or in the basement. Do not chop wood in the cabin. You will find axes and a chopping block in the basement.

  • Ashes

    • For both the wood stove and fireplace, shovel out the ashes if, and only if, they are cool to the touch. Use the metal bucket to transport them to one of the metal ash cans on the front porch.

      • If ashes are still hot, you may leave it as is. DO NOT douce with water. Leave the stove door securely closed and push the air vent lever all the way to the right (open) to accelerate the fire's demise. If you must leave while there are hot ashes in the wood-stove, ensure there are ashes or dying embers and not a raging fire. ​

    • You must leave the fireplace clean when you depart, so time your last fireplace fire appropriately.

  • Kitchen

    • Wash dishes and leave bowls upside down to prevent rodent habitation

    • Wipe down kitchen counters, sponge the mudroom sink area

    • Remove all contents from the fridge and empty ice trays into sink.

    • Empty the green bins under the counter

    • Unplug the fridge; the plug is on the left, between the cabinet and the fridge.

    • Prop the fridge and freezer open.

  • Vacuum all floors and mop the kitchen floor if necessary

    • Extra vacuum bags are in the bins upstairs

  • Garbage

    • Carry out anything you carried in, no exceptions.

    • We no longer have access to the​ dumpster at Sugar Bowl Academy so drive it all back to your home.​

  • Bathroom

    • Remove the bag of used toilet paper and pack it out. Flush 4 oz (1/2 cup) of holding-tank treatment liquid down the toilet.​

  • Make an entry in the logbook, bonus points for illustrations.

  • (Winter only) Turn off the water

    • Unplug the hot water heater
    • Close the blue valve under the kitchen sink (off is perpendicular to the pipe)
    • Turn the power off to the pump (breaker #11)
    • Open the kitchen and mudroom sink taps
    • Open the two green-handled valves under the kitchen sink (open is parallel to the pipe)
    • At the toilet, open the red valve (open is parallel to the pipe) and flush the toilet until no more water comes out.
    • Once there is no more trickling sound from the hot water tank draining, open the blue valve.
  • Turn off the power
    • Go to the left of the wood-stove, find the large circuit breaker, and switch it off

  • Lock the doors

    • Re-padlock the entrance door.

    • (Summer) Be sure the basement and deck doors are locked ​

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