I'm planning on buying an unimproved lot on the road system in the central Su valley area... most likely location contenders are: west of Willow (Long Lake, Crystal Lake, etc.); Caswell Lakes area; or somewhere in between. Eventual goal is to build a small cabin for weekend getaways and "staging" for atv/snowmachine excursions. Short term goal is to clear enough out to use it as a campsite (travel trailer) for those same weekends and excursions for the first year or two. Although I have several friends in the area, and have loaned myself out as "manual labor" a few times on their lots digging outhouses or limbing felled trees, I really have zero "building stuff" skills myself - although I have no problems getting dirty and usually learn quickly.
My first thought is simply: how the heck do I get started? I envision (probably incorrectly) pulling up to the lot, getting out of my pickup, firing up the chain saw and "clearing" a path into the property, stacking my new firewood as I go. Driving over those stumps doesn't sound pleasant, so I suppose I'll fly my helicopter in and lift them out (Ha! sarcasm, btw - I have no idea how to remove a stump without some sort of dozer or something). Obviously, I want to leave as many trees up as possible for the seclusion, land value, erosion, wind break, etc... and obviously, I'll need to plan/plot where I want the eventual building site to be. But, once I have sketched that up... what do I do?
Am I fooling myself by thinking that my wife and I can manhandle this on our own, with the occasional volunteer labor that some of those friends owe me? Do we need "heavy equipment"? I know we can rent from several places, but I've never used anything. Can we learn how to use it? If so, how? Trial and error? Training programs? Apprentice myself to the Operators Union?
I've been scouring these and other forums, websites, etc., trying to get a feel for getting started. I think right now I'm in information overload, and not absorbing what I need. Is there a "building a cabin for dummies" book, or a class at UAA, or something? Or am I just better off hiring someone to punch in a driveway and lay down the gravel? (I assume I need gravel - seems everyone else has it)