Travis and I transported a couple snowmachines up river from Mike Sibley's cabin a couple days ago. I dropped travis off at the lower cabin, he brought the snowmachine up, then I would ferry him back down with the airplane. We had great weather, and the cabin performed well. We had an ermine in camp, and fox tracks everywhere. Not much snow for this time of year. I took a few night shots of the cabin with Tiki Torches set up. It was a bit cloudy so the light pollution from the peninsula really shows up.
Last year around this time Mike and I were heading down river on the Kustatan to pick up a new boat and bring it up river. Getting a boat across the inlet is a bit of a logistical dance orchestrated primarily by people working over on the west side of the inlet at the oil and gas facilities. They recieve all of their large equipment shipments via tug and barge. I happened to meet a Superintendent over there and we coordnated shipping a boat for the cabin across that week. He was kind enough to deliver the boat down to the riverbank where we could throw a motor on it and take it back up river. Right before we left the cabin to head down river we could hear a helicopter flying low in the area. As we made our way down river we soon found what the helicopter was probably looking for.
As we pulled the boat ashore to make sure the accident wasn't fresh, the helicopter landed just down the strip and two guys started unloading gear.
The Helicopter was in for the insurance company to salvage the cessna and drag it back to Anchorage. Both pilot and passenger were up from the states on a summer trip and made at least one bad decision, picking a poor landing location. The strip was so overgrown and rough I probably wouldn't have landed the cub on it. Despite all that, the pilot and passenger were both fine and were on their way home. The two men drilled holes in the wings to put a cable through, flipped the plane over using the heli, then attached to it and flew it out north. Pretty interesting process, but pretty expensive for somebody...
I have a good friend in Boulder who has a similar respect for small space living and she has been a great inspiration for a lot of the creative aspects of this cabin project. My primary influence has been my long time neighbor and good friend Mike. He was the first to pioneer the particular solar panel we are using, and he has helped greatly with most of the major construction ideas.(putting the cabin on barrels to keep it away from the bears, putting in a new floor to replace the sagging one, and re-roofing the cabin with new OSB and roll on shingles) What I have learned through the process is that small details can greatly improve living in a small cabin and sunlight matters greatly. As you can see, I have replaced all the windows with ones that Mike donated from his home remodel. This involved cutting out studs and reconstructing all four walls to various extents. This last trip I installed a new window courtesy of my friends at doors and windows in the eastern gable end. With the help of friends, we hauled in all the tongue and groove for the walls and ceiling and I installed it all with a finish nailer and compressor donated by a friend. My goal was to create a small space that would be comfortable, modern, and bright. Just because the outside is a little rough, doesn't mean the interior can't be bright and energetic. The wood stove was custom built in soldotna and heats up the well insulated cabin very quickly. The electrical system consists of a solar panel purchased from cabelas($100) which comes with an in line regulator that will prevent the panel from over-charging the marine battery which stores my energy. The battery was donated by a friend who happened to come across it at the dump and snagged it, Chad also helped install my new roofing. The solar panel is supported on a 1.5" pipe about 13 feet high and articulates to different angles to best capture the sunlight as the seasons change. My interior lighting was purchased at superbrightleds.com and ran 15 dollars a light. They are small LED can lights that are countersunk into my ceiling tongue and groove. My exterior lights are all LED flood lights purchased on Ebay. I have a cigarette lighter to plug in cell phones and two USB ports for other electronics. All the electronics run through a switch panel and then through a fuse panel. My entire solar system cost roughly $200. The latest addition to the cabin was the front deck. 10 X 6 deck is great for keeping the cabin clean and is a great way to get out of the cabin and bbq or hang out. The deck frame is 2x6's and is decked with treated 2X4's. The deck is supported by 2 glue lam beams sitting on concrete blocks. When I look back at the progress so far i'm amazed at how much crap we have packed from the airstrip, over the beaver dam to the cabin. It's not an easy trip with a bunch of lumber on your shoulder.
Elegantly landing the airplane in medium to large size rocks can be a hard thing to do. Cache Carr and I set out to do some practice last spring on a perfect day. Touchdown feels horrific, but you have to trust that the 31inch bushwheels are doing their job and absorbing a lot of the impact.
Last spring Dusty Vanmeter and I flew east to Montague to do some beach combing. There were a lot of good finds including a bunch of junk sports teams knick knacks that fell off a cargo ship down in southeast. Fly swatters everywhere.....
When I found the cabin it wasn't insulated so once we began the restoration process, it included insulating the walls and ceiling. This sounds straight forward, but of course there is a story. Two falls ago I insulated the cabin and put up vapor barrier only to have a bear break through the door that spring and rip all of it down and out of the cabin.
So of course i had to haul in more insulation and start all over. I put in a new, much stronger door also...... After the new roofing was installed we put up new shingle material also and a metal roof is in the future.