Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Livin’ in the Woods

Who knew everything on this highway would be called “xxx-Mile House”? Not us. After leaving our Green Lake campground we drove 10 miles and re-connected with Highway 97 at 83 Mile House, drove past 89 Mile Ranch, passed through 100 Mile House to 108 Mile House. . . ok, you get the idea. This is a throwback to Gold Rush Days when lots of people traveled through, but nothing was surveyed, nowhere had addresses, and “place” was designated by how many miles up the highway you were, at the closest house. After 75 miles northbound, we left the highway again at 150 Mile House and headed off-route 40 miles to the northeast passing turnoffs to the towns of Horsefly and Likely, finally arriving at a place with no official name, but referred to as “Brisle” by the folks who live there.

“Brisle” is the 80-acre summer home of Carl and Chris, friends we met at Playa Juncalito in Baja, Mexico 2 winters ago, and re-connected again this past winter. Both winters we camped near them on the beach and had memorable, fun days with Carl on his sailboat out of Puerto Escondido. We also had a full day of fishing with Carl this past winter, shared numerous cocktail hours and a few meals. Carl bought this property 40 years ago and spent 20 years completing the log cabin, building it himself, by hand – cutting the trees from his property, peeling the logs, and building the entire house, hiring help only to put in the well. It remains off-grid, and has a propane refrigerator and stove, and an outhouse. Large solar panels are on the roof and nearby in the yard, along with a 1000-pound bank of batteries to provide power. They have satellite radio and TV, and no telephone. The cabin is light and airy, snug and warm, with beautiful views of the woods and hills to the south.

We arrived shortly after noon and spent the next few hours walking Carl and Chris’s property, and downhill to an adjacent lake where Carl keeps a 21-foot sailboat anchored, as well as seeing a number of neighboring properties. The closest grocery store is 24 miles away, and the Pub in Likely, the only restaurant, serves food 2 nights a week. Carl says the community holds a weekly “safety meeting” every Friday afternoon at the Pub. They frequently see black bear, moose, coyote, fox, deer and occasionally cougar on their property. Once a black bear appeared at their sliding glass door and placed his paws on the door while mauling the nearby hummingbird feeder. Trees surrounding their house are primarily spruce, douglas fir, poplar and some pine.

We drank Carl’s delicious, smooth, dark home-made beer for cocktail hour, and Chris made a wonderful puttanesca for dinner. It was great fun to see them in a different setting and tour their charming and very romantic home in the woods. We agreed they’ll come see us at our home the first week of November on their way back to Baja, Mexico. Day 2, another terrific day!

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