The prep for this hike actually started two years ago. A coworker of mine told me about this cabin that you could access from a parking lot off a logging road we drove down frequently so I added it to my mental list of things in the area I wanted to check out. Fernando and I decided to do our second overnight trip here on thanksgiving weekend in 2018. We packed up our packs, hiked in not knowing what to expect along the trail or at the cabin, and had an amazing, relaxing night. Last year on one of our many runs I told Kirstin about this cabin and we decided we wanted to do it together. As most adult planning goes, we never set a date and it didn't look like it was going to happen this year. At the end of August we picked a date and made it happen!
We often think everything will be the same when we revisit old places. Our mind convinces us it is one way and that's the only way it can be. All I really remembered from the hike in is that it's pretty flat, all on an old atv trail, there were a couple places where the bridges hadn't been replaced so you had to walk across wooden beams, and there is a big wetland, boggy sections to get through. The first time we did the hike we were tired by the end, embarrassingly tired looking back on it. This time it felt like the easiest hike ever. Could we even call it a hike? It wasn't much different than walking the nature trails in town except we had packs on and an overnight destination. If you were wondering, the definition of a hike is simply a long walk, especially in the country or wilderness, so yup, it is a hike.
As we walked in we discussed the future; kids, where we want to live, what we want to do....the usual. Kirstin and I are pretty similar in a lot of ways and we are both really on the fence about kids and would be happy living a fairly nomadic life so we're always discussing those next steps and idealistic situations we want to be in.
He,y guess what?! The bridges have been replaced! No more walking across slightly haphazard wooden beams or straight through the little creek; your choice. They're nice bridges, designed for ATV use and probably snowmobile use as well. From what I gather it's a popular trail for snowmobilers but there are ATV tracks as well so it must get used.
Next up, the bog! It might not actually be a bog but it definitely has wetland characteristics. You go through this section of mushy, goopy, ground and if you're not wearing the right shoes, you will probably get soaked. I slipped here and rolled my ankle in one of the easiest spots. I roll my ankle a lot though so we carried on and a few minutes later we were at the lake! Only a kilometer and a half to go to the cabin!
The cabin is a nice little A-frame cabin. It has a sleeping area in a loft type section that will fit a few people. Downstairs there is a little plywood platform for sleeping. You can sleep two people here. There is a table, a little stove that looks like it used to get used but now serves as storage space, a wooden couch and chair, and some old kitchen chairs. I don't think the cabin gets used much, especially int he summer. Both times we have been there we have had to clean up a fair amount of mouse poop in the cabin before it was useable. If you're not familiar with it, look up hanta virus. Not going to lie, we don't follow the properly cleaning procedures for ensuring we don't get hanta virus, but we probably should.
Anyway, once we had all our stuff safely stowed int he cabin, we relaxed. I sat at the picnic table and listened to nature. The fish were jumping in the lake, the loons were calling out, the wind was blowing, and there were no sounds of civilization. It was perfect. Kirstin and Mike had gone off berry picking and Fernando and I wandered over to see what they were up to. There were so many blueberries it was incredible.We picked two full camp cups of blueberries and Kirstin took them home. I think she's going to make us a pie with them.
We spent some time wandering through the forest, using old ATVs trails to check out wetlands. Mike and Fernando had brought guns with them in case there were any legal animals, but we didn't see any. Last time Fernando and I were there we saw this incredible bull moose who was only maybe 15 meters away from us. Since only spike forks are legal in that region he got to continue on with his day but I got to capture him with my camera and I will never forget that feeling of excitement I had when he just stopped to watch us before disappearing into the trees.I digress. Back to this year....
We put out jetboil to use and made dehydrated dinners. They weren't bad. Kirstin and Mike brought bear smokies and buns so we had that for a late night snack after a came of cards. We decided to sleep outside since it was one of the last weekends we would get the opportunity before it got too cold. It was cold. Our sleeping bags are rated to -20 though so we were comfortable as long as we stayed inside them.
The next morning we enjoyed a quiet, beautiful sunrise before packing up and heading back to town. While I don't think any of us were physically refreshed from the night's sleep, we were all mentally refreshed and I was thankful we got the opportunity to do this hike together. On the way out Ryley flushed some grouse out and Mike was able to shoot one and take it home for dinner. Ryley chased the rest too far away and we couldn't find them again.
Home Lake may not be an extensive hike up into the mountain range, but it is perfect for a quiet night (or weekend) away and off the grid. It's a good reminder that it's not always about the challenge, but more often, the journey and who you share that with. And with that, it was goodbye Home Lake!