Blog Archive


  It was 7:30 am, the drive started at 2:30 pm the day before. I had been called away from my cabin weeks earlier to tend to funeral arrangements of a close friend. I was very tired from my long drive returning to my cabin. After 12 hours of driving I had stopped near a campground 5 hours ago, but not finding a suitable tent spot and with a steady rain coming down
I made the decision to continue on the last 5 hours of the journey to the cabin.
The drive was long, hard, it was dark, no lights to look at, hardly any towns along the way. I was tired and fatigued and just wanted to "GET THERE" and flop into my bed and SLEEP. As Fatigue sets in and I become tired, I drive slower and slower and slower, the trip gets longer and longer and longer!
  When I finally arrived, my driveway was missing! It was gone!
It had been swallowed up by 4 ft undergrowth and could not be deciphered from the 6 ft deep ditch on either side of my narrow passageway in to my cabin. The entire roadside was just a jungle mass of wildflowers, shrubs and willows that literally grew overnight.  I told my friend, this is where my drive is suppose to be. The light shade of a gray dawn were just a haze and we squinted our eyes trying to see any hint of a passage way. The rain beat down on the windshield and the steady rhythm of the wipers gave us intermittent views of clarity, but it was no use. I had to get out to feel with my feet and find terre ferme.  That was the moment when I was revived....The barrage of mosquitoes descended on me like a dust storm.
I couldn't breath, I couldn't see, and I was dancing and scratching and swatting and squashing the buggars by the millions! UGH! I jumped quickly back in the car having located the edge of the drive with my foot having felt through the vegetation. A quick prayer and some gas and I was past the car eating crevasse.
 I hate that driveway!  Quickly the cabin came into sight. Whew! Made it! So I thought...
I made up my mind to make a 1.3 second Olympic style sprint and entrance to the cabin which in my assessment should only let in about 450,000 mosquitoes.
A substantially smaller amount than what would be gathering in a horde outside the door. So, I grabbed the keys tightly in my hand and made the lightning dash to the door. I quickly and with great efficiency unlocked the padlock and.........
didn't open the door. I was being eaten alive,
I could feel myself going anemic and the sting of a million biting bloodsucking insects made me rethink our decision made so many months ago to screw the
heavy plank door shut with 5 inch lag screws. We were "securing" the cabin against the arrival of uninvited guests of both the 2 legged and 4 legged varieties. People and bears. Well, it obviously can keep people out my voice shouted in my head. My hands and face were swelling with gigantic welts. There were so many that I no longer itched, it was just the all encompassing hum of pain. I couldn't feel the new mosquitoes biting anymore as the bit areas of exposed skin was already swollen.  I could through my fatigue vaguely feel the shape of my face changing shape as I struggled through a sleepy mental fog trying to decide what to do about my predicament... How to get into the cabin.
    The cabin had been built with the idea of protecting it from the bears, so all the screws used in construction were large and long and required generator power and a power drill to remove them from the wood board and batten plank and plywood walls. The windows were small to conserve heat and high to make access for the bears more difficult. Since I didn't have a generator or a power drill outside the cabin at this point, the door was no longer an option for entrance, so I turned my attention to the lowest window.  The bottom of the window was about 6 feet up as the cabin was built up above the snowline on tall pilings. I had gone around the corner of the cabin and been out of sight of the vehicle for quite a while and I was now joined by my teenage son and my friend who were both wondering what I was doing that was taking so long.  What I was doing was assessing the best way to break into a cabin that had been designed to thwart just such endeavors!
     I determined that I could climb up on top of our wood pile and if I can stretch my legs far apart I might be able to reach the edge of the windowsill with a foot.  My teenage son suggested since he was taller and had longer arms and legs he might be able to reach the plywood that was screwed over the window and might be able to unscrew the smaller screws that fastened it to the frame. I handed him the screwdriver and in moments the board was off. However, the window was still shut and locked. It was an older window and had become worn out over the decades and was already vintage when we bought it to use on the cabin. We shimmied it back and forth in its track until it came out of its track and we were able to push it open and my son climbed in and made it look quite easy.
As I mentioned before, it is a very small window and a very high window and it was quite a stretch from the top of the wood pile to the window sill.  After a series of twists, bends, and stretching that would have impressed a contortionist, I was in!
 Now it was my friends turn. This might be a good time to mention that she is 71 years old (going on 19!)
and she was looking skeptically at her choices but in the end the mosquitoes were a very motivating factor.
She quickly made the decision to join us in the cabin and get some reprieve from in incessant buzz and biting of the demonic insects. Little did we know....

    We walked from the bedroom to the kitchen....Um, it used to be a kitchen.  It was a vision of some surreal paper mache piece of rogue art.
There was 10 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of sugar, 25 pounds of salt, several bottles of maple syrup...opened and now empty, 5 pounds of oatmeal, teabags, coffee, various canned goods, and bear poop all pasted in a sick concoction in a thick layer over everything.  The cabinets and cupboards had been torn from the walls and lay in unrecognizable splinters on the floor amongst the rubble. The shelves were knocked down and disheveled dumping their contents onto the heap.  Even in my sleepy fog it was not lost on me that had I walked around just one more corner of the cabin I would have been able to just "walk right in" where the wall was missing! It was completely open to the sky, the woods, and the fiendish mosquitoes. I was really starting to whine in my head to myself... "I just want to go to bed!!!" I was just this side of having a temper tantrum and bursting into tears similar to those of a typical toddler at nap time, except I wanted to go to bed!

 Well, there was nothing to do about that, sleep was to be hours away! First there was the firearm to be loaded. Then there was the piece of plywood that had been taken off the window that was used to hastily put over the hole in the wall. This involved getting the generator out of storage that had just a tiny amount of gasoline in it, with some quick tuning it soon roared to life and powered the drill to secure the patch to the wall with screws. It was an agonizing task with the concern of the bear at our back, and the flesh eating insects as thick as fog all around, penetrating all the openings of our bodies, our eyes, nose, ears and mouth and the ever present desire for sleep. (I had now been awake for 30 hours making my dexterity equal to that of about a 4 yr old). When that task was complete we turned our attention to a murderous spree of annihilating the droves of blood thirsty insects
that were plotting against us. We felt some measure of success when we would find less than 5 mosquitoes at a time on any given part of exposed flesh.  It was still just before dawn when we entered the cabin and so were unaware of the scope of destruction that was revealed as the dawn lightened the cabin. I have to admit that the catastrophe was impressive even by candlelight.  As we made headway in the extermination of the skeeters, the beds were starting to whisper my name  ever more loudly and persistently. Finally I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and flopped down. I laid there for about 4 seconds before I heard the first slight whining sound near my ear, then two, then three, soon the buzzing pitch was rising in measurable decibels. The sun was fully over the horizon now and the heat was building, it was humid from the rain and yet I pulled a fur blanket completely over me, over my head and face leaving just a small breathing hole.
It was a hot but safe refuge from the cloud of insects hovering over my now snoring carcass.  An earthquake could not have awakened me! I never want to make cabin repairs in the spring again! Going bear huntin', going bear huntin', going bear huntin', Got a score to settle and food to replace!


  1. This is amazing - I'm glad I discovered your blog! My name is Daniel J. Rice, I currently live in northern MN, but am mostly from Wyoming. I spend as much time as I can alone in wild places, and your blog serves as a voice of inspiration. I recently published a book titled This Side of a Wilderness. I would like to send you a free copy, to help repay the favor you gave me by writing this blog. You can view the synopsis on You can contact me at if you would like a copy.
    Enjoy your time in the dream...

  2. Hello - I hope you are well. I work for a TV production company in London, UK and I am looking for people and stories for the new series of Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild. Would you be able to drop me an email so I can tell you more about the series and find out more about your story. Kind regards Sophie

    1. We are more than willing to be dropped into the wild for any series, but not at our homestead.


We are glad you stopped by our Blog! We always enjoy our visitors and would really enjoy your comments!