From the Archives: Molalla Cabin

From the archives - photos have been added for some work I was involved in back in 2011. Below is a modest recap of how I happened upon the project.


I had just finished my first solo bike tour, about 1700-miles from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon. My brother was wrapping up his degree and relocating back to the East coast, so this was the last time to visit. I thought the best way to celebrate his achievements, along with some career changes on my part, was a self-supported bike-camping adventure. After careful planning I flew BOS -> LAX and set out the next day. The coast landscape was stunning, food amazing, and solo time on the bike completely restorative (more on that adventure some other time).

I arrived way ahead of schedule, having generously estimated the time it would take to avoid missing any of the festivities.


With ample time on my hands I took off again. About 50-miles south of Portland a close friend had been designing a wilderness campground over the past ten years. Telling the tales of his family warrant a biography of multiple volumes, so I'll limit the scope here to how the Molalla opportunity unfolded.

The site is nestled into the foothills of the Cascades. Surrounded by Douglas fir trees one feels the historical weight of the forest. Somehow they have held off calls for logging and there is still substantial old growth throughout. The mountains are nearby but things are so dense you're basically absorbed with the immediate surroundings.

The design features a central meeting house and several individual bunk-style cabins.  He needed help with framing the cabin. The main structure was up but interior needed some work.


We fell into a fantastic rhythm that week, a schedule one can only hope to replicate in future endeavors: Quick breakfast of oats and eggs early, work in the morning, midday swim, afternoon work, and an evening of fireside reading and conversation. The Molalla river only had direct sunlight for about two-hours each day so it made for a good excuse to break the day up a bit and get in the water.

All told, a small project in the overall trajectory of things. Maybe a week of work? The timing of everything was truly special though, and along with the site history, family, building with a friend, it contributed to the adventurous spirit in the air at the time and has stayed with me since.