As we all do on the last day of each year, we reflect back on our past year. For me, I generally remember the good. I sometimes remind myself how lucky I am to be still alive and have the ability to breath clean air.
There are famous people that I would consider important in my life. Some of these people have influenced me through their songs, their writings or perhaps their acting. One of my favorites would have been 72 years old today. John Denver, an incredible voice, and a storyteller, preached through his music straight to my heart. His music would play a genuine part of the rest of my story.
Years ago while living in Kamloops, British Columbia, it is hard to pick an actual date but it was the middle 1970’s. John Denver was very popular. I listened to all of his songs and it gave me peace as a young married man. Those were confusing times for me. I was a husband but still trying to grow up and be a man. I heard the call of the wild many years before. Living in the large city of Kamloops would not fulfill whatever was digging at my thoughts which in turn motivated me. I was lucky to have a wife that had the same spirit as I did.
One of our motivations was to move further north into the Canadian wilderness, build a log cabin and live off the land. We spent many hours dreaming and talking with friends about that lifestyle adventure. Looking back now, this sounds almost ridiculous. We did not anticipate it would be dangerous or deadly if we just dropped out and with no experience did it.
One winter with friends we went to Blue River, British Columbia for a long weekend. Someone suggested we hike back into the bush and meet this cool person and his family living off the grid. That sounded like an excellent idea. Given our earnest desires to do the same thing and being adventurous, we parked the car on the side of the road and waded through knee-high snow for close to a mile. We came to a clearing and found the homestead cabin, it was round.
Now this cabin was not just a log cabin in the woods this was a Yurt. A Yurt is a Mongolian-influenced round tent usually built out of skins or felt for the nomads of Central Asia. The history dates back to around three-thousand years ago. So this construction is of ancient origin. Well our never-before-met friend living in Blue River, British Columbia was about to get a knock on his door.
We knocked and the door. The door opened to a man wearing dark wool pants held up with suspenders and a checked flannel shirt filled the doorway. He had long hair and a stringy beard. I cannot remember his name after all these years. So with that in mind, I shall call him Adam and his wife shall be called Eve. Eve was tall and wore a patterned wool dress. Her hair flowed past her shoulders and she had it tied in a ponytail. With our first introductions, I got the impression both of them were highly intelligent.
We were invited into their home, the Yurt. I remember how kind they were and they both seemed to be happy to have unannounced company. The Yurt I would guess was about twenty-five feet across. That means about nearly 980 square feet of living space. A wood heater in the center of the Yurt with the stove pipe through the peak of the roof made it warm and comfortable.
After introductions and handshakes, Adam put a pot on the stove to make tea. We visited for quite a while. Two things stand out to me about that experience. The Yurt was made out of wood, not skins or felt like a thousand years ago. Adam cut down logs and made lumber on an Alaska Sawmill. Which is a chainsaw apparatus that rips logs into rough lumber. It generally is operated by one or two people. Adam built this Yurt by hand. The other thing I noticed, he had an old truck a four-wheel drive with a plow on the front to move the snow out of the way to get to the main road. All of this was impressive and us being drawn into this kind of lifestyle enjoyed the time we spent there even though we were unannounced. What came next was, even more impressive. I will save that for next week.