One hundred years ago, a young doctor from Cleveland by the name of Robert Newcomb, travelled north to a place called Temagami. It was as far north as one could travel by any modern means. Beautiful beyond any simple expletive, the Temagami wilderness was a land rich in timber, clear-water lakes, fast flowing rivers, mystery and adventure. Newcomb befriended the local aboriginals — the deep water people — and quickly discovered the best way to explore was by canoe. Bewitched by the spirit of an interior river named after the elusive brook trout, majamagosibi, Newcomb had a remote cabin built overlooking one of her precipitous cataracts.
The cabin remained unused for decades, save for a few passing canoeists; it changed ownership twice and slowly began to show its age. Hap Wilson discovered the cabin while on a canoe trip in 1970. Like Newcomb, Wilson was lured to Temagami in pursuit of adventure and personal sanctuary. That search for sanctuary took the author incredible distances by canoe and snowshoe, through near death experiences and herculean challenges. Secretly building cabins, homesteading and working as a park ranger, Wilson finally became owner of the cabin in 2000.
Located on the first falls south of Katherine (Divide) Lake on the Lady Evelyn River (now the Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park), Cabin Falls is now Canada’s most unique wilderness eco-lodge retreat. Originally built in the early ’30’s with recent upgrades, all materials and supplies have to be flown in from Temagami, paddled down river (through two rapids with canoes lashed together) and portaged twice, sometimes three times!
Over 100 Beaver aircraft flights have been made to bring in lumber – almost all it milled in Muskoka from local timber mills cutting on private land (not Temagami!). In fact, much of the material was salvaged from construction sites or old buildings being torn down. Almost all work is done by hand tools only – from skinning logs with a draw-knife to paddling in propane fridge. Solar powered since 2000 and soon to have its own hydro-power by way of non-intrusive pelton turbine, this eco-retreat is a paradise of mind as well.
Originally built by two American brothers as their own personal wilderness nirvana, Hap and Andrea have now has been taking client trips up to Cabin Falls EcoLodge for over twenty years; welcoming mostly executive and family groups, as well as photographers, writers and artists to a memorable wilderness eco-retreat. All fly-in by floatplane from Temagami but other visitors may include canoeists who are passing through and in need of shelter on trip as the Wilsons always leave a little cabin (away from the main structure) open for trippers in need.
To learn more about Cabin Falls, it’s history and it’s soul; read the book The Cabin – A Search For Personal Sanctuary, written and illustrated by Hap Wilson – or visit for yourself!
Format: Paperback, 175pp. ISBN: 1-897045-05-0
Pub. Date: 2005 Publisher: Natural Heritage Books