Grandfather says he sometimes outsmarts himself.
He believes in taking the high ground and absenting himself from lowlife, so he builds his abodes on higher elevations in remote places.
But when Grandfather built his cabin in Alaska, up high on a granite outcropping above Chilkat Lake, he eventually got too old to climb up there!
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is an octogenarian from West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family
You have a heart like mine, Grandfather. I did a lot of backpacking in the Adirondacks with my black lab when I was younger, the purpose of which was to get away from people. I’d get really annoyed when I encountered someone using my trail.
One lake I went in to had two lean-to’s about a half-mile apart. The occupant of the other one came to visit, and thought it was an amazing coincidence that we were both out there alone at the same time. Perhaps he was thinking about sharing my lean-to. After several pretty strong clues that he just didn’t get, I finally had to say: “You seem like a really nice guy, but I didn’t hike three and a half miles with sixty pounds of stuff on my back looking for company.” He finally got it and went back to his own lean-to.
We have a place in that neck of the woods now, out on a dead-end road … that we can drive in to. Our only neighbor within shouting distance is the forest ranger. We’re moving in next spring when my hubbie retires.
RD Blakeslee says
Indeed we do have similar hearts, Gee!
When I was much younger, I used to hike in to the North shore of Lake Superior, 10 miles from any sign of humans.
Now, I’ve arranged to live apart full time (nearest house over a mile away) and must content myself with getting annoyed when I encounter too many other vehicles on the back roads I occasionally must travel.
Yet we aren’t hermits, are we? We just control the time and place for desired human interactions, right?
No, we’re not hermits, but … sometimes it still sounds like a good idea. In the Adirondacks, we had several “real” hermits: the Cold River hermit and French Louis Seymour come to mind.
When I was younger, I had to move three times in a year and a half. Ugh! After we landed in the last one, I said, “That’s it. I’m not moving again until the kids are out of the house. Then I’m selling everything I own except my canoe and my backpack and I’m heading north.” Well, not long after, I wound up getting remarried – but only because he came with his own canoe and backpack. 🙂 Unfortunately, he also came with a job that has required us to stay in civilization … until next spring.
Then we can go be hermits together.
RD Blakeslee says
Well, Gee you are a true “outbacker”. They are found in what the Alaskans call “the brush”, which is most of Alaska.
While my cabin was not in the brush and I never intended to live there full-time, it was only accessible by jetboat or aircraft. The rivers there are too wild for a canoe.
As you get older, you may reach my kind of accommodation, where services are more immediately available than we need when younger.
My husband and I live in the woods in Hudson valley, NY- 700 feet in. We have a bridge that goes over a brook. We are in our 60’s, but we realize we cannot live this way going onto the last phase of our lives. You don’t want to be secluded like this- with difficulty getting in and out of the driveway, etc.- when you are in your late 70’s and 80’s. Plus- no family or close friends nearby. So we will have to move very soon- just waiting until my husband retires in another year or two. (I already quit my job.) We will move farther north to New Hampshire- but in a community setting and close to our only child. It will be hard giving up the privacy, but you have to be realistic. Plus, the seclusion and peace is great when you are working all week- it’s like being in a retreat-, but when you are home 24/7, it gets a little lonely, as I can attest to already.
RD Blakeslee says
Your decision to move is wise I think, in your situation, MaryAnn.
My situation is different, in that my home place of 41 years was set up and continuously developed to last me out as West Virginians say.
While my place is extremely private, but I am only six miles from essential services and, most importantly, my eldest son lives nearby and helps me with things I can no longer do.
But I did have to give up my Alaska cabin, of course.