By Renee Azerbegi
Over the summer last year, Renee Azerbegi, President of Ambient Energy, took three weeks off and seven weekends to help re-build a historic log cabin in the middle of Eagles Nest Wilderness Area in Vail with her family, the Walkers. The cabin is located at the base of a bowl at 10,800 ft, and the only way to get there is by a trail through the wilderness area with an elevation gain of 2,600 ft. Renee’s inlaws are 5th generation Coloradans and came to this state as settlers and miners. They own 73 acres across 7 contiguous mining claims which they never sold to the Forest Service. The cabin was built in the early 1900s as Great Aunt Millie’s cookhouse for the miners and became a shelter for local Vail skiers and rock climbers over the years. The silver mine has now been closed, and the cabin was becoming a safety hazard. We were approached by Dorsey Pictures, producers of Building Off the Grid, last year to see if we wanted to rebuild it. We had always thought about doing so, but the reality of it seemed very far away. With the TV show willing to chip in over half the cost to rebuild, we decided to take the challenge on!
We reused as many of the existing logs as possible, mostly only the shorter logs in the front of the cabin held up and were reusable. We cut down some dead beetle kill trees and had to cut some new trees as well in order to build a sturdy cabin that would last another 100 years. We plan to replant twice as many trees as we cut down next summer and the Forest Service has offered to donate the saplings to us. We reused gravel from the mine dump for the foundation, and rock from the rock quarry, both across a harrowing creek crossing. Mules were used to move the logs closer to the cabin and to carry building. The show aired on Do It Yourself Network on January 16th, 2018 on the Building Off the Grid: Vail Cabin show. Thanks to Dorsey Pictures for enabling us to rebuild this historic family cabin for another 100 years for generations to come.
If you are interested in watching the show, it is available for a limited time here with password Dorsey. Otherwise, it’s on the DIY network.