Fans of cabin camping in Southeast Alaska observe this one rule: reserve early and often. So it was on a snowy (or maybe rainy) day last January that I reserved Blue Mussel Cabin for the Independence Day holiday.
The trailhead is located 16 road miles from our house, and the cabin is another 3.5 foot miles into the coast. The trail is relatively flat, but varied. Boardwalk through high meadow leads to boardwalk through the forest which leads to old school trail – spongy ground covered in needles, crisscrossed with roots and interspersed with boggy mud holes. About a mile of the trail is through open meadow with tall grass and beautiful wildflowers (and more mud with some flooded sections). We were totally prepared with waterproof boots and mosquito nets.
Blue Mussel is one of three cabins in the Point Bridget State Park system. The first cabin you come to is Cowee Meadows Cabin, and it’s important to tell your children this so they understand they still have more trail to hike.
According to Mary Lou King’s 90 Short Walks Around Juneau (2007 Edition), Blue Mussel Cabin was build in 1995. The cabin sits on a beautiful rocky beach, with a bluff behind and ocean and mountain views out front. A small waterfall comes off the hillside right behind the cabin. We were greeted by hummingbirds and a family of screaming marmots who live in the bluff down the beach.
Cabin time is something special. No one cares if all you’ve done for the last 30 minutes is stare out the window. Nothing is so important that you can’t stop what you’re doing to go watch the marmot family watching you…watch them. An inordinate amount of time can pass just throwing rocks.
Cabin time is time when your air drum performance to U2’s “Beautiful Day” is so good your husband wonders out loud if you played drums in high school. Victory dances are encouraged every time you win a round in Uno. The phrase, “you’re pushing my buttons” inevitably ends in a massive tickle fight. And everything you cook tastes like the best food you’ve ever eaten.
I’d like to believe that cabin time can be replicated at home, but it can’t. Maybe that’s why we love it so much.
We saw plenty of wildlife. In addition to the entertaining marmot family, we saw tons of birds, seals and sea lions pass through our beautiful cove. No whales were spotted, but we were fortunate to watch a very large otter “fish” during low tide after dinner. More than anything, Garrett wanted to find a frog. They are not common in Juneau, but most likely to be found in boggy areas. Unfortunately, he accidentally stepped on and killed the only frog to cross our path. Poor frog. Poor Garrett.
We treasure our cabin time. And we are lucky to live in a place with dozens of state and forest service cabins available to rent. Cheers to Blue Mussel – we look forward to seeing you again!