You’ve been out skiing all day in the backcountry, ambling through airy powder and carving down untracked slopes. Dusk is falling over an albescent landscape—a waning pink light dappled with stretched, pointy shadows of spruce in the final minutes before it all bleeds into darkness. You’re delightfully spent—it’s time to call it a day, so you turn and head back to a wintry respite.
Coming over a rise, you see it. A golden glow peeking through the distant windows of your cabin in the woods. The fragrant smell of smoke curling from the chimney hits you next and you pick up your stride, the steam of your breath rolling over the frost build-up on your collar.
Sliding up to the entrance, you pause to pop off your skis and lean them up against the outer wall. With a shove of your shoulder, you push open the door and are bathed in the warmth of the hearth and fragrance of the pine interior. You set your ski boots to dry by the stove and hang damp clothes on hooks placed strategically around it. After changing into some cozy lounging wear, you plop down in the old comfy chair, beer or hot beverage in hand and instantly relax.
The crackle of the fire is the only sound as you look out through frosted windows to the final sliver of light on the horizon. There’s no internet, no phone—and no desire to have such things. You have a feeling of utter completeness and satisfaction.
There are few things as good as spending a day outside on skis or snowshoes in the wilderness, travelling through a snow-muffled land and ending up in the snug peace of a Canadian backcountry cabin.
Either alone or with friends, these sanctuaries that dot the remote landscapes of our country hearken back to a simpler time. A wood stove to warm yourself and cook over; a hole in the ice or melted snow for water; an outhouse to do your business; and if you’re lucky—a sauna to cleanse and refresh yourself at the end of each day. Spending time in a cabin in the woods replenishes the soul more completely than any highfalutin spa ever could.
Whether at a backcountry hut in the mountains of British Columbia or cross-country skiing the frozen lakes of Northern Ontario, the cabin in the woods is a seminal experience that every full-blooded Canadian or visitor to our country should experience at least once in their lives. Chances are, it will be a place you’ll return to again and again to attain tranquility and satisfaction that’s harder and harder to find in a world becoming more frantic by the moment.
So welcome the short days, the cold air, and the snowy landscape that comes with our winter season.
It’s cabin time.
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