Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Cabin In The Woods

A few weeks back we were invited by a friend to visit her families park in the back woods of Washington. She gave me a few details, but we weren't really sure what to expect. Lush forests, a river, and a cabin were on the list. It sounded quaint and like something worth seeing, so on a Sunday afternoon we headed over to her home and she drove us to the countryside.

The property has been in her family for several generations. They use it as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of Portland life. It has been the site of childhood adventures and family picnics, as well as a place where local residents have occasionally come and made a mess. Most of the fishermen who have visited have respected the owners wishes to care for the land, but at one point a rogue group used explosives in a fishing frenzy and destroyed a natural waterfall. To make matters worse, there was a robbery at the cabin leading them to hire a man to stay there and maintain the place.

Enter Billy. Before our arrival my friend had told me that the man who stays there has a curious collection of hunting trophies inside, so I had some small idea of what to expect, but when we arrived and he led us inside the small cabin my response was nothing short of awe. As a kid, I well remember my grandparents living room being encircled by buck horns, but this was something different all together.

It seems that Billy is actually a celebrity in the hunting world. He has circled the globe and hunted pretty much everything you can hunt, and brought it back. Add to it the fact that he is also a taxidermist, having mounted his first piece at the age of ten (which he still has), and you are beginning to understand what we're talking about here.

Every inch of wall space was covered. HIs collection even included a trophy from the Czech Republic where he was knighted into a local hunting circle. He showed us the certificate they presented him with, and for the first time he was able to have it translated.

These images are all from the main room of the house, but his bedroom was encircled with the heads of sheep and goats from places like Egypt, Azerbaijan, and China. He was full of stories, which I won't go into now, but it was fascinating and overwhelming all at the same time. Even as we spoke, he told us he was cooking up some bear in the crock pot. Not something you hear every day.

It was a rainy day, so we weren't able to soak up the sun, or go swimming like we had originally thought when we planned this trip, but after spending half an hour or so in the cabin, we headed out to enjoy the beautiful nature along the Washougal River.

The rocks were really fascinating. There were these large holes that had us guessing at their cause and purpose. Were they created by rocks of old under pressure? Carved out by indigenous people for milling? We even considered one section with a series of circles close together as an early clothes washing station. Whatever their early uses, they now serve nicely as gardens for spiders who weave their webs over the tops and await the larvae to sprout wings and fly.

We wandered the trails and saw interesting flora, as well as evidence of the past being slowly integrated back into nature.

And on a final note, the curtains our friend hung in the bathroom roughly forty years ago. Enjoy :)