Archive for Alaska construction

Large, small scale building projects 2

Posted in alaska, deer hunting, fishing, hunting, photography, sitka deer, travel, wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by polarguide

The summer has ended and heavy sheets of rain have begun falling from the sky.  The strong winds of fall have blown me back to Juneau and I am finally getting to do a little writing.  I was hoping to write more about my building project but during the summer I don’t have electricity or access to the internet and so I wasn’t able to make regular posts.  Also, I was so busy working and trying to build that by the end of the day I was too exhausted to write.

I’m pleased with my progress.  Considering that we still have no road access and I carried nearly every board in on my back,  I am happy with the amount of work I was able to accomplish this past summer.

I completed the foundation, framed the walls, got most of them sheathed with plywood and the roof is on. I was able to get tar paper on the roof and battened down a couple of tarps.  Unless I get a windfall of money sometime soon, the tin roofing material will have to wait until next spring.

Before I button up the the project for the winter, I will have to finish sheathing all the walls with plywood and wrap the entire structure with Tyvek.  I hope to have this done by the first week in november.

Three framed walls

Three framed walls

The foundations took a long time and was alot of work.  Once I carried in all of the wood, the framing was much faster.


Building the loft took one afternoon and the front and back walls went up super fast.




Jeff and Katie enjoying the view from the loft.

My friend Katie helped get the roof on.  When it came time to start the roof construction I was under some pressure to get it done quickly.  The fall rain had arrived and I had to leave town.  I could have constructed the roof alone, but with Katies help it was done in half the time.


In between bouts of building I guided five, ten day sea kayak expeditions into remote parts of south east Alaska, then captained a small water taxi transporting people across the ocean from Gustavus to the remote destinations of their choice.  Now that summer is over and fall has arrived I have moved back to Juneau and will be making weekend visits to Gustavus to weatherize the cabin before the first snow. In the mean time its hunting and fishing to fill the freezer with fresh food from the sea and forest. here are a few photos from our most recent fishing outings for salmon halibut and black cod.

Hunting day turned into a rescue mission when we found this faun swimming the ocean.

Hunting day turned into a rescue mission when we found this faun swimming the ocean.

Cold and near drowning we pulled the little guy out of the frigid ocean and dropped him on the shore of Admiralty Island.

Cold and near drowning we pulled the little guy out of the frigid ocean and dropped him on the shore of Admiralty Island.


Jeffie and a big Halibut


Brocklie and a bucket of salmon


Amanda loves her some Coho salmon


Brock reels in a big black cod!


the big one!


Large small scale building projects

Posted in alaska, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 6, 2013 by polarguide


Summer finally arrived after a winter cold May and Early June that transformed into the sunniest summer we have seen here in years.  I have moved over to my summer home in Gustavus Alaska, where I have begun construction on my cabin.  Its been a dream of mine for a long time to buy a piece of land and pay for all the building cost out of pocket and design and build my own modest home. After years of thinking about it, it seems a bit unbelievable that I am actually doing it.

The property I purchased is in a small village in South East Alaska called Gustavus. Nestled in the forest at the mouth of Glacier Bay National Park, Gustavus is not an island but it has no road access and is only reachable by boat or airplane. The population  hovers around three hundred people with an increase of one or two hundred more in the summer.

Building in this remote place is challenging but not without its rewards.  Having never built anything in my life the financial and geographical obstacles were intimidating, but once I saved enough money to buy some building material I just threw myself into the project and four weeks later I have made more progress than I thought would be possible. Along with the foundation of my cabin I have built confidence and no longer see the project as overwhelming.  I see the progress I’ve made and  can plan the next stage and even visualize  the completion of the project.

The first obstacle was money and the cost of buying building material.  All the building material in gustavus has to be brought in on a barge, so I have kept the size of the building small to reduce the overall amount of material needed.  Not only is there no road to the town of Gustavus but there is also no road that leads to my property.  This is the second obstacle,  all the material must be carried to the construction site through the forest, another reason the make the structure small.

So far, I have dug a foundation that I put on pier blocks.  Carrying concrete to the building site to pour a foundation was really not an option.  the floor of the building rests on 4″ / 6″ pressure treated lumber raised 12″ off the ground and knee braced with 4″/4″ pressure treated posts.  The deck will be completed with 2″/10″ joist and 3/4″ plywood. It looks like this:



I purchased the land 3 years ago with my friend Zach. Together we purchased a Yurt. we share the yurt as a communal living space while we each build our own cabins on opposite ends of the 3.25 acres of land.


gustavus-9We are completely off the grid.  No electricity, we catch rain water for drinking and we use a wood burning stove to heat the yurt.  Between building I am guiding 8 to 10 day kayak trips.  I leave tomorrow to start trip, it will be at least a week before I can carry back more lumber and start the next part of the project.  I hope to have the walls up and roof on by the end of August.