Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stone Cold Cabin

This little bit of BLM bliss I’ve been staying at is designated on maps as The Stone Cabin Recreational Site.  It’s on the Arkansas River just below Clear Creek dam, near the town of Granite.

I took a hike late Wednesday afternoon to go look at this cabin.  I don’t know anything about it.  There’s no sign or plaque.  If I find out more later, I’ll add it here.  But it was interesting just as a piece of home-made adaptive architecture.  I don’t think it’s ancient.  Too much glass for one thing, both in windows and doors.  And the free standing fireplace has a modern look.  If I had to guess, maybe the 1930s or 40s.  Just a little more ancient than me.

While I was having pancakes at the ongoing food fight that is The Evergreen Café in Buena Vista the other day, I asked one of the flying waitresses what it was like around here in winter.  She stopped cold, so to speak, and looked me in the eye.  “Empty.  Bleak.  Freezing.”  Then she was off and away again.

And there you have the environment that shaped the Stone Cabin.  Built back into a hillside on the west.  Bedroom on the north, near the fireplace.  Entry on the south.

A raised level berm for a front yard in front of the long porch.  Beyond that, a slope down to the river.


Large masonry arms reach out to shelter the porches at both ends from wind and snow.


A neat little cold storage room that pushes back into the weather at the rear of the house, accessible at near waist height through wooden doors inside.  In the summer, I imagine this fellow had some sort of cooling arrangement with the river.


The main misstep seems to be with the flooring.  He laid what look like 2x4 joists right on the ground, and of course everything rotted.

There you have it.  Year round living in the Rockies, not all that long ago.  Heck, this would still make somebody a nice summer cabin, with a little fix-up.

Right now I'm living in something a lot smaller.

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