Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cabin Life: An Experiment in Self-Reliance

Pico and I went snowshoeing for probably the last time today. I wanted to get out before all the snow is gone, and I think there’ll be enough left to ski on tomorrow. But the snow is going fast, almost as fast as it came. In the last two weeks, I’ve gotten about two feet of snow out at the cabin. The plow guy had to come three times in four days, after having been out here only three times in the last three months. But now it’s about fifty degrees, and the forecast calls for warm for the rest of the week. It’s starting to look like winter might really be over.

I missed this part of the Adirondack spring last year, as I was still living in Florida. I missed opening the windows and letting that clean-smelling breeze roll through the house. I missed seeing people’s super white arms emerging from t-shirts for the first time in months. I just plain missed the change in the seasons.

Jacksonville, FL is far enough north that there is kind of a “winter,” where it does get cold for a couple of months. The palm trees stay green and you might need a hat and gloves in the morning, but that’s about all you get out of the change of seasons. There’s really only two seasons: Hot, and not as hot. The lady bugs have been proliferating around and on the big window. I keep catching glimpses of them out of the corner of my eye, and thinking that someone is coming up the driveway, but that’s not really all that likely. Now that it’s warm, the snow is melting, and there are brown patches of dead grass peeking out, I can’t help but feel some sort of satisfaction. Back in October, I thought that living off the grid for the winter would be a huge challenge.

It has been. But not one that has broken or defeated me.

If anything, I am stronger, both mentally and physically, than when I moved out here. This winter was an experiment in self-reliance. Not that I haven’t gotten help along the way, but being way out here is something that you have to experience to truly understand. And really, isn’t life all about the experience?

Justin Levine is living off the grid in a cabin in the Adirondacks with his dog Pico and blogging at Middle of the Trail.

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Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.

4 Responses

  1. Cobber says:

    Very interesting .. that living “WAY out here” and you get someone to SNOWPLOW for you ??? LOL.. now thats a rip.. You must be a LONG way out..

  2. MiTibird says:

    Just living somewhat removed from city and/or urban life away from the now so-called “normal” life of instant “on” gratification and in view of other people — that is now called “self-reliance”?? Really??? Then my husband & I, and lots of others in the ADK, have been living it for more than 12 years. And LOVING it!! Welcome to the club! Enjoy!

  3. ADKinLA says:

    You guys being a little harsh? He may not be living a “long” way out there given that he is blogging about his experiences and plowed driveways but it is still interesting to read his thoughts of cabin life in the ADKs. Sure this guys life is not exactly Thor Heyerdhal but so what? Give the guy a little poetic license, geez.

  4. dakota13000 says:

    Before you get too critical, please keep in mind that Justin IS living off the grid.