The beaver lodge
After the stream crossing, we weave through some curves, past a pretty little open meadow that contains a beaver lodge (and what looks like some good moose browsing habitat), and down a set of steep, tight, sandy switchbacks that would make many a person decide to get out of the truck and proceed on foot. Katie, however, is made of sterner stuff, and negotiates them with aplomb. We pause at her favorite currant bush and snag a handful of currants on our way by. And the next stop is Katie's cabin.
Denali and willow bower
Currants on deck
One of the reasons Katie built where she did is, as you can see, the view. That's her, Denali, The Mountain, The Great One. She and her massif pretty much comprise 50% of the view off Katie's deck (although it's also possible to see Mt Susitna - AKA Sleeping Lady - and a number of other peaks from the top of the ridge where the cabin is perched.)
Naturally, after an hour of kidney-bouncing roads, the next stop must be the famous outhouse. Well-ventilated and carefully screened to exclude squirrels and other small invaders, it is situated to get at least some benefit of passive solar heating (which I grant you isn't going to help much when it's midnight in December, but is still a consideration in a general way.) It is solid and square and neatly organized inside, with shelves for supplies (which are completely squirrel- shrew- and rodent-free.) I must admit, I am impressed with Katie's carpentry skills. She shrugs and says it wasn't that hard (although evidently stripping the logs was a bit of a pain). I begin to imagine how adorable will be Katie's chicken coop (currently in the planning stages.)
Anyway, we spent a little time wandering through the woods and getting harassed by gnats (the mosquitoes have pretty much packed it in for the year). If anyone is wondering, wild bears DO crap in the woods, and I have photographic evidence (which, in the interests of good taste, I will not reproduce here.) Moose, pretty much the same deal. Pepper - the BF's Border collie - showed more restraint, spending her afternoon sniffing interesting things, patrolling for squirrels, urinating on likely bushes, and lounging at her ease in the sun on the deck (with occasional hopeful eyes at our bison jerky.)
Unfortunately, both Katie and I had things to do the next day, so we didn't stay the night. All too soon it was time to head back down the trail, so we snugged the cabin back up, re-loaded the truck and made our way back over the ruts and obstacles. The colors are starting to turn, and we made our way back through the high-bush cranberries (which are not cranberries at all, despite the red and tart nature of them.) I'm given to understand that you can make a good meat sauce from them - although I just pretty much eat them off the bush, myself - as well as a beautifully-colored and tasty jelly... although evidently it smells as if you are boiling used gym socks rather than making something that you might want to put on toast or pancakes. The cranberries are best after the first frost, which we have not yet had, but the rose hips were ready to eat, slightly wrinkled, sweet and tangy. We had a few on the way out, spitting the seeds (not so much as a re-seeding effort as because the seeds will in some individuals cause something we shall here euphemistically refer to as "tummy upset". I do not know if I am one such individual, but I prefer not to find out.)
So now I'm kind of thinking: Hmmm.... there was that open lot next to Katie's.... I wonder if I can talk her into building me a nice outhouse....?