Monthly Archives: May 2013

Reluctant Pioneer

The day trip to the Cabin was a bit of a disappointment … because I hated to have to leave after only a couple of hours!  The walk in was slushy with dangerously slick mud hiding under the slush.  Whole chunks of trail slid out from under me in places, so I finally gave up and walked through the brushy kinnikinnick at the side of the trail.  The lake is still frozen, but doesn’t look solid anymore.  As the snow melts on the lake and above it, water builds up on the surface of the ice.  So to my eye it looked like open water all along the “ice road” that my neighbors use, and although I was assured that it was still plenty solid for a vehicle, I’m a chicken.  The trail worked just fine!  

My footprints!  Going back I took the slightly firmer high ground to the right of the trail

My footprints! Going back I took the slightly firmer high ground to the right of the trail

Doesn't look great for walking to me!  The ice should be completely out in another few weeks

Doesn’t look great for walking to me! The ice should be completely out in another few weeks

On my way out I stopped in to accept a dinner invitation with my friends, Susie and her husband, who live up there year round.  They had a real treat for me.  They had come across a book written by a woman who had come to Alaska in the 1940’s with her husband and two small children.  Amid the trials and tribulations of pioneer life in Anchorage, this woman found the money, time, strength and courage to build a remote cabin.  My cabin as it turns out!  I am so excited about reading and sharing this book that I’ve decided to relax my strict policy of not disclosing personal details that could give away my location.  But in order to learn more, you’ll have to read the book!  “Reluctant Pioneer” by Cecile Betts.

reluctant pioneer book

As we had suspected, the cabin is built from a kit.  Cecile had recently divorced her first husband and acquired the property on the lake after a round of court battles over child support.  The ruins of the tiny log cabin that I have long referred to as the “trapper’s cabin” on the property is actually the original dwelling that her family used when staying up there.  She reported that it was too small and the roof leaked which prompted her to find the Quik Log cabin kit which she purchased for $900.  She then enlisted a local man to haul it from Anchorage for her for $50.  She and her children carried the logs up the hill to her building site.  Over the July 4th weekend of that year a military friend helped her build the Cabin, which likely explains the military bunks that were in use there until just two years ago.

 Cecile unfortunately passed away just 3 years ago in California.  I hope to make contact with some of her family and already have a letter on its way to a young lady whom I believe is her grand-daughter.  As I read the book, I am finding more and more names of folks that I recognize from stories my parents have told about their early lives in Alaska.  One gentleman that Cecile worked with was not only the father of my dad’s best friend but he took out my tonsils when I was 11 years old! 

 I am so excited to have come into this bit of history of a place that I hold so dear to my heart.  I promise to share more as I learn more.

Categories: cabin, nostalgia | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Spring is coming…but it’s dragging it’s feet!

#37 Christine Roalofs passing through the crowds during the Anchorage ceremonial start of the Iditarod

#37 Christine Roalofs passing through the crowds during the Anchorage ceremonial start of the Iditarod

Much has happened since my last post, but only recently have I had anything Cabin-worthy to write about!

The last post I was looking forward (with some anxiety) to my friend Christine’s running of the Iditarod. I’m very, VERY pleased to say that she completed it in one piece and all of her dogs came home healthy. Although she got the Red Lantern (last place) she completed nearly 1000 miles of trail that even race veterans said was the worst they had ever seen. Warm temperatures created sloppy trails and dangerous overflow on river and lake crossings. When the temps finally dropped enough to firm up the trail, she was hit in the face with a blizzard. We were all thankful when her GPS tracker finally showed her in Nome…and NO ONE was more thankful than she was!

A few weeks ago I joined some friends for a vacation to wine country in California. Thanks to the incredible hospitality of a childhood friend of a friend, we were able to stay in a guest house in the middle of a private vineyard. The grapes were still teensy green specks, but the foliage was thick and green and glorious to us color-starved Alaskans!

We spent 10 days exploring and touring in the hot sunshine before coming home to our dirty grey city. Even the snow on the mountains is grimy looking this time of year, but each day a little more green shows up in the yards around town.

While we were in California I celebrated a milestone birthday. (50…gasp!) That’s all I have to say about that. (eye roll!)

This last weekend we did a quick dash to Kenai to pick up the motorhome. The camping season is upon us, starting with a big group campout in Seward over Memorial Day weekend, so we have some work to do to get Winnie cleaned up, flushed, charged and restocked. In spite of that to-do list, I managed to sneak away on Monday to run up to the Cabin.
Much, much to tell about that terribly brief trip, so I’ll save that for the next post…

Categories: Living in Alaska, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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