Okay, do we have everything?" Every contractor asks this
question, but last summer it took on new meaning when I was
hired to build a log cabin in the Alaskan bush. The road
nearest to the job site was three hours away by boat, 45
minutes by plane. You can bet I checked the materials list more
Projects like this one may be rare in the Lower 48, but they
are no big thing around here. The job began when a truck showed
up at my local harbor with a cabin kit from a supplier located
200 miles away. After a nearby lumberyard delivered the rest of
the supplies, all 50,000 pounds of material were loaded onto a
barge (1) to be towed up the coast and grounded on a beach near
the job site.
The crew had to be on hand to meet the barge when it arrived,
so we went to the local landing strip and, while dodging lumber
trucks making deliveries, loaded tools and last-minute supplies
into a bush plane (2). The pilot flew us to the beach.
When the barge arrived, we unloaded it with a tracked forklift
that had been brought along for that purpose (3). Then we
reloaded the forklift and waited for the tide to refloat the
barge so it could be towed away. From that point on, anything
that came in would arrive by plane at $335 per trip.
We used muscle power and an ATV to haul material the rest of
the way to the building site (4). Modern conveniences were
scarce; we lived in tents and relied on solar panels and a
generator for power. Occasionally I'd fly home for a few days
and come back with any parts and supplies we needed.
Since the site was near a productive salmon stream, we fished
in our spare time — and watched the brown bears fish,
too. See that little wire fence (5) around the cabin?
Electrified, it was there to keep the bears away while we
worked.Dave Northupis a contractor in Homer,