Weekend Cabin: Powell Lake, British Columbia: "
Wayne Lutz is a pilot and aeronautics professor from California who spent every summer flying around northern Canada in search of adventure — until he stumbled upon Powell Lake about 60 miles north of Vancouver. Powell is known for its floating cabins, one of the few Canadian lakes where they’re still common, and once Lutz came upon these charming structures he never went past Powell again. Instead, with his wife, Margy, he bought this 20×21-foot structure for $25,000.
Until 2000, you could build a cabin and moor it just about anywhere on the lake, but the B.C. Land Management Bureau stepped in to regulate matters, and today the structures are capped at 200. The Lutz’s is one of the few that’s occupied year-round; most are summer homes filled just on weekends.
“Other residents on the lake come and go in the off-season,” writes Wayne, “mostly on weekends, but seldom does anyone stay overnight except in summer. Yet here I am, floating on Powell Lake, writing and weathering the storms. For someone who has lived most of his life in California, this is a place where the progression of the seasons can be appreciated.”
The Lutz property includes three bedrooms, two downstairs and the master bedroom occupying a loft. The “lot” — that is, the dimensions of the float — is 40×40′, or 1,600 square feet, and it has several satellites: The Lutzes built a floating woodshed, floating dock, and floating garden, the latter of which is brought into reach via pulleys. Energy comes via propane, wind, and solar, and the cabin is off the grid.
“During windy conditions, the cabin travels outward to the full extent of the shoreline cables, bringing the cabin to a rather abrupt halt,” writes Wayne. “The jarring thump doesn’t rattle the dishes, but reminds me that I live on a mobile foundation. As soon as the cabin jerks to a stop, it starts back towards shore. The ride in that direction ends when the float foundation whacks against the stiff leg, a log that keeps the cabin away from the cliff – another mild thump. Back and forth I go, slowly and almost melodically, while the wind generator adds a whoosh as its blades spin up, momentarily adding a few amperes to my off-the-grid electrical system.”
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.
Photos by Margy and Wayne Lutz"