Coming up to an unknown cabin in the woods is an engaging experience. Throughout the windy, snow-covered roads of Ohlson Mountain in Homer, my friends and I couldn’t stop debating what our home away from home would look like.
We knew it was a dry cabin and that it was just barely off the beaten path, but we went back and forth on what the outhouse situation would be like and who would be sleeping on the floor.
Our debate was debunked as we pulled into the driveway. The unknown became known and it was decidedly perfect.
The sun was setting on a blanket of fresh snow, just as untouched as our weekend abode. The rustic cabin had all the right amenities — enough beds for each of us, enough heat for the whole night and enough windows to watch the sunrise while drinking a fresh cup of coffee.
The unknown treated us well and set a base camp for a weekend out of town.
Whenever I leave Seward, I try to make a list of things to accomplish. If I’m by a movie theater, I’ll catch the latest release. If I’m by a Fred Meyer, I’ll grab my favorite socks and some fresh, ground peanut butter.
My hopes for the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea? To see some snow and eat some food.
I accomplished the first goal by the time we reached Tern Lake. Turns out, Seward really is a temperate rain forest, keeping the snow from falling with its rising temperatures.
When we got to the cabin, I postholed through a foot or so of snow, for once happy to feel the snow break below my feet! Soon after, a fire was burning and we were gearing up to go skiing.
But, ski conditions can be just as elusive as an unknown cabin in the woods. Sure, there are Facebook posts and word of mouth to tell you when it’s good or when it’s bad, but you don’t know until you go. So, we went.
Two for two, the trails were perfect.
We spent the rest of the weekend in between loops around Lookout. I got lost on unfamiliar trails, spending an extra four miles alone with my thoughts gliding along a perfect corduroy. I didn’t even worry about what kind of climbs I would run into along the way (maybe I should have, or at least packed some almonds in my pocket).
My best friend visiting from the East Coast didn’t join me after the first few hills, but circling back around I found her as she found her stride. She’s new to cross-country skiing and it’s been a fun experience, sharing a passion with someone you love.
It’s an even better experience when the two of you can spend some time apart, enjoying the beauty of your environment in your own way while still cultivating that shared experience.
And we continued our shared experience over dinner, breakfast, lunch and dinner again. We ran circles around the food in town, continually hinting at what we hoped our next meal would be even after promising that we’d “cook one meal in the cabin,” a lie that I was fine telling myself.
That’s three for three on the weekend, but I stopped counting after the fourth slice of pizza.
And just like that we packed up and set our course back to Seward. We left the cabin as bare as we found it, with just enough heat to seep out throughout the day. I bet it was below freezing in there by the time we drove through Ninilchik.
I think the old adage is true though. We got back to Seward with a peanut butter sandwich in hand, fresh ground thanks to Soldotna’s Fred Meyer, and a fresh blanket of snow. Maybe there is no place like home.
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org