This is the door to Bearskin’s newest cabin:
No, it’s not everyone’s dream “Cabin 12,” although we would like to do that someday too. It’s a little bitty “camper cabin” at the East Bearskin Lake National Forest Service campground.
Camper cabins are not a new idea. Many Minnesota state parks have camper cabins. However, when Bob proposed the idea last year to the Superior National Forest Service staff, it was an idea that hadn’t been tried in their campgrounds yet. They gave it some thought and decided to let us experiment with building one.
The camper cabin honestly didn’t need to be so cute. The forest service sent us photos of camper cabins from other parts of the country and it was clear that a wooden box with minuscule windows often sufficed as adequate camping shelter. But Bob has a tendency to get caught up in the romance of cabins. The cabin he planned was not only serviceable, but sweet.
Bob worked on building the cabin whenever he had a spare minute — which wasn’t often, so finishing the cabin took all summer. Leo Klisch, a medical device engineer with a passion for building projects, helped start the cabin in early June. Quinn has been building on it all summer. Andy worked on the deck. Kate, Brandon, Laura, Caitlin and Megan all varnished and stained.
And now it’s finally done. We had our first camper cabin guests this weekend. It’s a lovely little place to camp.
The cabin is simple: bunks, an indoor trestle table, and rainproof shelter. A porch, a campfire ring, an outside picnic table. A path winding down to the lake, a short walk to running water, and a slightly longer walk to the campground outhouses. No electricity. At this time, no heat. Basic, like cabins used to be.
It rents for $60/night. Because this is a NFS campground, reservations are only taken ahead of time at www.reserveamerica.com (Right now reservations for this cabin are still glitchy, as Reserve America adds it to the web site. That should change shortly.) The cabin is also available on a “first-come” basis whenever it is not reserved ahead of time.
Nothing beats staying overnight in a beautiful Bearskin Lodge cabin, but the East Bearskin Lake Camper Cabin offers a simple, basic alternative experience that could suit the needs of many travelers to the Gunflint Trail.