Wilderness cabin idyllic spot to establish family traditions

On the wall above my head where I do my writing is a framed photograph of a wilderness cabin that we built as a family dream.

THE SHAW FAMILY wilderness cabin that was a family shrine for 20 years.

THE SHAW FAMILY wilderness cabin that was a family shrine for 20 years.







On the wall above my head where I do my writing is a framed photograph of a wilderness cabin that we built as a family dream during the 1960s. Above the mantel in our family room is a simple black and white painting of the same cabin. In the homes of our children are framed photographs of this family cabin. For about 20 years it was an important family shrine that we visited throughout the year.

When we retired in 1983 we made the very hard decision that it was better to sell in than try to keep it, when it would be on rare occasions we could use it because all our family had left the Kamloops area. There is no road to the cabin, which is located on the southern shore of Hyas Lake. The elevation is just above 4,000 feet on the slope of hill not too far, as the raven flies, from the Sun Peaks Ski Resort and is in the same snow-belt. The quotes below are from the two guest books we kept from the cabin and will cover the winter, Christmas and other seasons.

Dec. 26,1972 – Our eldest daughter had come home from college for Christmas – “Whole family including me made it to the cabin. All in all a very beautiful Christmas at home with my family. Melanie, Dad, Mom, Leanne, Lynnea.”

June 10-11, 1972 -I couldn’t pass this one up even though it is in June. The young woman in question was an exchange teacher, Liz Reynolds from Durham, England:

“Liz Reynolds caught a fish here,

She nearly had a fit

The serious problem then arose

“What to do with it?”

Pull it in Shaw shouted

In his usual pleasant voice

Kathy put the net out

And Liz had not much choice

To catch the slimy creature

She held out timid hand

And after five long minutes

She got the thing to land.” – “Thank – you Ralph and Elaine – Liz.”

Nov. 20, 1972 – Saw two beautiful cougars on the ice. We watched them cross the lake on thin ice – a female with half grown kitten. We watched them for about half an hour – Ralph, Jim Wentworth and Barbara.

Feb. 23, 1974 – “Lynnea – First walk-in trip, snow 4ft and remember snowshoes beat snowmobiles when there are nine stuck in slush on the lake. Leanne – it beats walking (snowshoes); Ralph and Elaine – Mother is getting good on snowshoes.”

March 15-16, 1975 Ralph and Elaine – “Who said after 25years of marriage you start to slow down, No Way! Estimate six feet of snow along the trail from Pemberton, cut and made new blazes.”

July 12, 1976 -Mom Townsend, Brother Graham and wife Sharon, Don and Ruth Jackman “Ode to Hyas Lake – Shaw’s cabin by the Lake is a wonderful place to:-

Barbeque steak

Fish for trout

Chop wood

And hide-out

Watch the stars

Search for bears

Drink scotch

Forget all Cares

(For many years Elaine’s widowed mother spent summer vacations at the cabin).

Jan. 14, 1973 – Wilf Pelly and Ralph -“Drove the truck to the cattle guard past Paul Creek and walked from there. Had soup and coffee and came home. Nice and peaceful.”

Jan. 26, 1974 – Comment by Elaine – “First snowshoe trip for Leanne and I. Fun but tiring.” (The snowshoe trip was normally six miles).

July 16, 1976 Cam Murray – “In this I felt the warmth of nature’s hand, surely He guided yours Ralph.” “Willow Hobbs – I enjoyed the peacefulness and serenity found here. (Fell in love with your chipmunks too).”

Nov. 11, 1976 – Jim Crawford “That “Place” beyond – is here! Surely you can take it with you….”

Dec. 28, 1982 – Came up to check things out for our last New Year’s Eve. It took me one hour and 20 minutes to cross-country ski in from the clearing on the Bodman Farm.

This column is about simple seasonal traditions built around the activities of our family cabin. I suggest they are the cement of family traditions that last for generations – simple things without technology.


Have a wonderful traditional family Christmas holiday.