Thursday, January 5, 2017

Little Houses in the Backwoods

Moreau Lake State Park just keeps getting better and better! It was already a wonderful north-woodsy park, with thousands of acres offering lakes, ponds, river, waterfalls, miles of forested mountain trails, a swimming beach and commodious campground, and even a couple of seasonal cottages.  And now the park will offer a whole new camping experience, with the addition of six rustic cabins nestled back in the woods and available to campers year round.  And for a couple of these little cabins, campers can even bring their dogs.

Curious to see what these cabins looked like, yesterday I hiked the park's campground road all the way to where it ends in Loop G, quite a distance back in the woods from the park's main entrance. And there I found two of the charming little cabins, still under construction but far enough along to allow me a sense of what delightful shelters they will be.  There are two sizes of the six cabins, three of them sleeping four and the others sleeping six.

Here is the larger cabin:

And here is the smaller one:

All of the cabins will be furnished with electricity, refrigerators, wood stoves, and comfortable furniture including rustic arm chairs and beds with mattresses.  Each cabin will also have its own outdoor fireplace and grill, and the park will stock each cabin with firewood, visiting regularly to replenish the supply.  There is no plumbing in the cabins, but composting outhouses will be provided in winter, while during the warmer months when all of the camping facilities are open, occupants of these cabins will have access to nearby full-service bathhouses with flush toilets and hot showers, like the one pictured below. There are also drinking-water spigots located throughout the campground, although these will not be functional during the winter.

There is a second bathhouse, located closest to the park's main entrance, that eventually will remain heated and functional during the winter, once winter camping becomes established next year.  But winter campers will have to snowshoe or ski quite a distance to the new cabins along unplowed roads, adding to the back-country experience. The winter rates will be significantly lower than summer rates, with the 4-person cabins renting for $40 a night, and the 6-person cabins renting for $60.  Park Manager Peter Iskenderian told me that he's already receiving requests to reserve the cabins, which should be available to rent by Memorial Day, 2017.

I can just imagine what a pleasant camping experience these cabins will provide, even in winter. Being able to stand up and walk around, instead of climbing into a tent on hands and knees and dragging the snow in with you! Sleeping on a real bed with a mattress, instead of shifting about on an air mattress trying to avoid the rocks of the forest floor!  Keeping toasty-warm on a winter night with the woodstove blazing, instead of trying to breathe through a sleeping-bag hood pulled tight around your head!  Heck, I might even be tempted back to camping, myself!

Although the cabins will not offer lake views, they are nestled well back in the forest among tall hardwoods and pines, and a nearby trail leads promptly to the lake.  Here is a map of the lake and campgrounds, with a yellow triangle in the upper right corner showing the approximate location of the new cabins.

Returning from the campground, I took the trail down to the lake and walked the frozen surface back to the park's main entrance.  Although rain falling on snow yesterday had covered the ice with thick slush,  park staffers assured me the ice was plenty thick enough to bear my weight.  The day had been gray, but I could see the cloud cover moving away, revealing patches of blue sky.  The beautiful days of winter are just beginning!

1 comment:

The Furry Gnome said...

Glad to see the efforts to attract other people to the parks. Quite a few Canadian parks have done something similar.