As it turned out, I had a good distraction to help take my mind off of things after Asa left: My dear friend and coworker Jasa had booked a night at Fure’s Cabin the next day, and invited me along. Of course I said yes. I quickly re-packed my backpack, refilled my water supply, and the next afternoon we were hitching a ride on a ranger boat out across Naknek Lake.
Fure’s Cabin is a remote backcountry one-room house that was originally built in 1926 by Roy Fure (pronounced like “fury”), a Lithuanian fur trapper. He lived in the wilderness for decades, and built his cabin from hand-hewn spruce logs in the Bay of Islands where it still stands today. In 1931, the land on which the cabin is built was incorporated into Katmai National Monument, and finally in 1940 Fure was kicked out since he was not a US citizen and therefore not eligible for a homestead claim. He and his wife built another house outside the monument, and continued to use the cabin periodically.
In addition to the cabin, there’s a windmill still standing that Fure used to generate a small amount of electricity so he could power some limited lighting and a radio, and inside which he stored various supplies.
Today the cabin has been restored and is often used by people paddling the Savanoski Loop. There’s a 1.5 mile portage trail that runs passed the cabin, connecting Naknek Lake to Grosvner Lake.
As soon as we arrived and dropped our backpacks off inside, Jasa and I hiked the Portage Trail. It was quite wet, and even flooded in some places. But the August berries were out in full force, as were dozens of different species of mushrooms.
At the Grosvner Lake side of the trail, there are rocky cliffs overlooking the water, covered with soft, spongy moss. We sat there for a couple hours, talking and listening to loons echo across the lake, and watching veils of rain sweep over the lush islands across the water. A rainbow formed for a while. Eventually we got hungry and headed back, taking pictures of all the beautiful mushrooms along the way as we went.
When we got back, I heated up dinner over my backpacking stove and then played Yahtzee until it was too dark to see in the cabin. I read on my bunk while Jasa journaled, and eventually we fell asleep.
When we got up in late morning, the sun was out (oh, glorious sun!), so we set out some camp chairs and ate our breakfast in the sunshine in a field of blooming fireweed. We read for the next few hours, enjoying the silence and warmth while we waited for the boat to come pick us up.
The ride back on the boat was as lovely as could be, as we dashed over the smooth lake between cliffs and forest islands, passing a big flock of swans at one point. It was truly magical.
What a busy week! There was so much to see and do and feel and think about, it’s hard to put it all to words. But as always, gratitude rises to my lips, when I think about what all of these means to me. I am so grateful for this life. For conversations. For difficult moments. For joyful moments. For beautiful views. For aching muscles. For pleasure. For new experiences. For the generosity of lovers and friends.