This is a continuation from our last post, Our Future Home. Please check out that post to get the full story.
Approximately a month after our initial visit, we were able to return again. This time it would only be for a couple of nights but we were excited to get back. We had established our camp at the families old camp. only been there one long weekend, it looked very welcoming when we arrived. Rachelle had spent a lot of time cutting back the rose and other brush during that first trip so we were able to quickly get camp setup. Most of that first day was spent improving the campsite.
The rose bushes had been cut down and piled up as well as branches and small trees that had died and fallen over. Our second trip started out with our moving these piles further away from camp and then continuing to rake up all of the old dead leaves that carpeted the entire area. It was fire season and this dry ground cover was like a powder keg. We needed to get it cleaned up and pushed as far away from our fire pit and our camp as was reasonably possible.
The mosquitoes were bad this trip but we found that a good fire and several “PIC” mosquito coils burning made them all but vanish from around the camp. That evening as we sat by the fire eating a dinner of steak and fried potatoes we watched the river drift on by and listened to Keith Morrison, from Dateline NBC’s Podcast tell us about someone’s misfortune. It was another wonderful end to a day full of hard work where we could just sit and observe our how much we had accomplished all the while, taking in the beauty all around us.
If you’ve been following our podcast, you probably already know that Rachelle really does not like bears. We haven’t been able to determine where this fear comes from since she’s never actually had an encounter with a bear. Nevertheless, in spite of a good hard days labor, every noise that occurred within earshot of the tent that night brought her wide awake. In order to make sure I was just as concerned as she was, she would wake me as well. In her defense, the forest floor was covered in old dried leaves and the two squirrels who were trying to take advantage of the long summer days to replenish their food stores, sounded much larger as they bounded across the ground between trees.
So after a pretty restless night, I found myself sitting at in my chair beside the fire waiting on the coffee to percolate. The sky was blue with only a few white clouds here and there. It was going to be a beautiful summer day and were going to take advantage of it. Once Rachelle was up, we enjoyed a breakfast of hard boiled eggs, Spam and toast before packing up the tools to head to the cabin site.
In order to get to the cabin site, we had to walk along the shoreline to the point where we had cut a trail. We spent the first part of the day continuing the work we had previously started. The brush and trees around the build site were cleared giving us plenty of room to work and store materials. The day grew hot and the mosquitoes thick and we decided to take a lunch break to eat and rehydrate.
During lunch, Rachelle mentioned that it would be much better if we had a trail from the campsite to the cabin site. This would allow us to move tools and materials much easier and also allow us walking access even when the river level rose and the river bank disappeared. After our break we picked up our machetes and started blazing a new trail. We opted to run the new trail right along the top of the high bank. It provided a beautiful view as you walked and there weren’t as many fallen trees to cut/move. We didn’t know it at the time but this would, much later, turn out very advantageous when the water rose dramatically and the sandy beach walkway was under feet of water but we could not get the boat close to shore in front of the cabin site. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll save that for a much later story.
By dinnertime we had a beautiful well defined path that took us from our campsite to the build site.
We sat watching the fire eating our dinner and talking about all that we accomplished. There was a feeling of incredible satisfaction with the work we did even though we did not yet know just how much time and effort having that trail would end up saving us.
We woke early, enjoyed a breakfast of hard boiled eggs, corned beef hash, and toast and then got to work. Today we would have to leave again but wanted to get as much done as possible since we just never knew when we’d be back.
While I began marking out the footprint of the cabin and digging to set the footings, Rachelle kept clearing. By lunchtime she had a very large portion of the area in front of the cabin location opened up. We stopped to admire all of her hard work. It had been another successful trip and real progress had been made. Rachelle suggested we setup our camp on our next visit in the newly cleared area. This would save and energy moving back and forth between our existing campsite and the build site several times a day.
It was the end of another visit and we reluctantly packed our stuff back into the boat, drenched the fire pit in water and pushed out into the river for the ride back to the truck. As I took in the beauty of the river and the surrounding miles and miles of Alaskan wilderness I looked over the woman standing beside me in the boat. Rachelle stood staring out, a look of peace on her face. It was obvious that she was right where she loved to be.
Thanks for coming along with us on our journey. Next time we set the footing and get the beams and subfloor started and a bear pays us a visit.