Posts filed under Cabin Life
Last time I wrote about our winter travels in the White Mountains I left you with the story of our time at the first cabin, and the fact that it slowly started to snow, something that turned into a windy snowstorm during that night. If you want to read more about the beginning of this trip you can click on the below pictures.
Cold Snowy Winter morning
As we awoke the next morning a thick blanket of snow was covering the cabin and all the forest surrounding us. We could not see the tracks we had made the night before. The wind had been howling all night, to the point where I was wondering if the cabin would blow away or not. We made sure the day before to haul in enough wood for the next people to start a fire, and more wood for us to keep the cabin warm during the night. During the night we had taken turns tending the wood stove, but the fire was almost out once we woke up. It had been hard to keep the fire burning, and we burned through all the wood, and then some. The cold didn't bother us too much since we still needed to prepare for our next trip, the trip to Elezar's cabin. W had already waxed the skis the night before, and we started the fire again, and brought in some more firewood. Water is never an issue on these winter trips, since you have all the snow in the world surrounding you. You do need a small amount of water to start melting the snow though, otherwise it will burn and evaporate immediately.
Leaving Lee's Cabin
After a semi slow morning, packing and cleaning the cabin we were finally on the road again. There was a thick new layer of snow, and we kept breaking trail, which gets very hard after a while. Once we got to the turnout to go towards Elezar's cabin we started to doubt where we were going. It's not as easy to follow a trail if there isn't any trail. But a quick look at the map told us to go along the forest patch. So we did. We finally saw a man and his dog come up towards us on the trail, pushing his fatbike. He said he was suppose to meet his friend last night, but he had never showed. That made me worried. During the rest of our trip towards the second cabin we never saw this other guy, hopefully he made it to a trailshelter and was just resting up before continuing.
It was Sunday and no other person could be seen, well except the fatbike guy and his dog, that we had met earlier. We were breaking trail almost the whole way to Elezars cabin. There is a race that goes through the White Mountains, called the "White Mountains 100". That is a 100 mile race that you can do on foot, skis, or fatbike. It's very fun to follow, because each year is different. Some years the trail is more beneficial to skate skiers, whereas other years the fatbikers are the winners, and so on. All this BLM land allows for this enormous area, an area to roam free, to ski, skijour, dogmush or snowshoe if you are in to that. You can book these cabins to, for very cheap. They don't have any electricity or running water of course, but you don't really need that anyway. After about halfway towards the Elezar's cabin a couple of snowmachiners came through and broke trail for us. The first time ever I really appreciated the sound of a snowmachine.
Some of the areas we ski over are semi submerged in water, because there are creeks that you can't necessarily see with all that snow. Scraping off that wet slush from your skis is a must, before it turns to ice and make it even harder to ski. But can we talk about the weather? After a pretty grey morning the sun started to peak through the clouds, and now we could actually see blue sky! Maybe we could even see some aurora in the evening....wishful thinking I'd say.
Towards Elezar's Cabin
And then finally we came to the turnout towards Elezar's cabin. There, up the hill is where it lays. We were again left with breaking trail towards the cabin, and this time we also knew that this meant the cabin would be cold. I admit, I was a bit tired. It's hard to ski far, and also hard to break trail. It's about seven miles between Lee's cabin and Elezar's cabin, so not that far after all.
We arrived pretty early in the afternoon and got a glimpse of a beautiful sunset later on. After we got the fire going and some hot drinks we got the cribbage board out and started playing. It's a pretty nice feeling to be on your own, out in a cabin far from everyone else, a place with no cell service or electricity. I went out several times during the sunset to try to take some pictures of the beautiful light.
There is something about that calm, that calm you only get away from eveyrone else. I miss it. That absolute silence, no loud noises, no cars driving by your window. Absolute solitude, well, apart from being with your partner of course. It makes me feel more alive, to be able to be out there, in the wilderness. Disconnected from everyone. I miss it.
As the darkness fell over the cabin on top of this hill I had high hopes, high hope of some northern lights. The night was a bit cloudy, and I left my GoPro out in case that aurora decided to stop by. It didn't. Still the moon casted a bright light over the cabin that night. A reminder that even in the darkest time there is always a light out there for us.
The final morning we woke up early. We had a long stretch back, well about 12 miles or so. Both of us were also a bit nervous. Nervous that the car wouldn't start, and we aimed to be back before the dark was setting, just in case we needed to get some help from any passing car on the highway. I managed to snap a few pictures before we started our journey. The final stretch of trail also includes what some people refer to as the Wall, its a 1 mile hill, including a climb of about 600 feet. It's a struggle. However, we were semi lucky since we got all that snow the other day. The way towards Elezar's cabin had been smooth traveling down the Wall. I can not imagine going down that hill in a luge like track, which I know is often created in these areas.
We finally arrived back at the car, and the final stretch we were passed by some other snowmachiners. W skied fast back towards the car, because if the car did not start, at least there were some other people there to get a jump from. But, we were lucky, my car started on the first go and we were happy, happy but tired. When were you last out on a winter adventure?
It has now been more than a year since I left Alaska and that cabin in the woods. Wisconsin has grown on me but it ain't Alaska. This will be my second fall away from that home. A second fall away from that boreal forest of mine, with blueberries, cloudberries, lingonberries, fireweed, birch and black spruce. There is nothing like a boreal forest in fall colors. It strikes me quite often how much I miss that place, too much for my own good. There is no benefit to constantly think about the past and miss things, we will probably live a pretty miserable life if we do. But then again, we might anyway if we can't live where our hearts do. There is nothing like fall in the boreal forest!
To the Lover of Wilderness, Alaska is one of the most Wonderful Countries in the World
- John Muir