Rustic Cabin: No Electricity, No Running Water, and T Smithers Makes Fire!

Wineberry Cabin - PATC - Appalachian Trail, Virginia

Wineberry Cabin

If you were to ask my mother what her version of “camping” or “roughing it” is, she’d tell you it’s renting a room at the Holiday Inn (American ones aren’t necessarily as nice as European ones). I, on the other hand, would tell you it’s being out amongst nature or staying in a rustic or “primitive” cabin in the middle of winter.

The picture at the top is my shot of Wineberry Cabin which belongs to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC)-owned cabins in Virginia.  This beauty has everything you need to lessen the carry-in load, such as: cast iron pots and pans, silverware, plates, cups, in-cabin med kits, and sleeping pads [hello, classy living!].  Better than all of that?  The some-hundred year old wood burning stove and the built-in, roof-covered wood-burning grill!  P.S. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be covered in soot during your two-minute attempt at lighting a fire.

It was a pretty simple day and overnight stay out at the cabin, with the exception of the boys pushing a flat-tired wheelbarrow .25 miles to and from the cabin ’round about eight or so times, Ginger Phil forgetting the map while we went out hiking, Hiking Buddy knocking me off a swing, and the sounds of marsupials skittering about the tin roof during the night freaking out the dog (Wyatt).

I’ll leave you with the pictures, a survival tip at the end, and hopes that I can get myself back up into the hills sometime soon!

Hiking Group Photo with a dog

Wyatt the Dog, T Smithers, Hiking Buddy, and Ginger Phil

T Smithers and Ginger Phil

Someone believes he's a lap dog

Someone believes he’s a lap dog

Wineberry Cabin - PATC - Appalachian Trail - VirginiaTree reflection on the window of our cabin - Wineberry Cabin - VirginiaWineberry Cabin - PATC - VirginiaLighting a Fire - Survival Skills - Wood Stove - Magnesium and Spark Strip - Girl - Survival TipGirl lights fire in wood burning stove in Virginia at Wineberry Cabin - T Smithers



A swing in the wilderness - outside the Appalachian Trail along the PATC Cabin Route

Girl on a swing in the wilderness - T Smithers

When one finds a swing in the wilderness – one must take to the swing!


Hiking Buddy helping me up after utilizing centripetal force against me on the swing.

Graveyard along the trail to the cabin - Wineberry Cabin - PATC

Further proof that every single trail I’ve walked in Virginia has at least one cemetery.


View at Mutton Top outside Stanardsville, Virginia - PATC - Appalachian Trail

The view from another cabin – Ginger Phil, Wyatt the Dog, and Hiking Buddy

View from Mutton Top cabin along the PATC Appalachian Trail, Virginia


Cabin in the woods

The flat-tired wheel barrow being pushed for the ump-teenth time



Trees on a winter's day in Virginia

Turkey Tail Fungi on a tree - Virginia

Turkey Tail Fungi

Survival Tip and a Short Gripe:

I’m going to take a second here and tout the need for every hiker/day-packer – and in a small ode to feminism – and female to learn basic survival skills for those “just in case” moments.

I remember when I first started learning survival skills: I was so overwhelmed.  Not by the idea of having to survive in the wilderness (or, even at home in harsh weather should the power go out), but overwhelmed by the sheer number of fancy, new-fangled survival items out there and which ones were the best.

Do you really need to carry tinder, a lighter, and a fire starter brick with you?  No.  Should you carry a magnesium strip and a knife on you?  Yes.  Does it have to be a magnesium strip and a knife?  No.  You could also do something else I was taught this weekend by my two prior-service Army Rangers… carry a 9V battery and a brillo pad or some insulation.  Both the magnesium strip and the battery with insulation are small and easy to transport.  They can sit in one of your pack’s zipper pockets or even in your pant pockets; just be sure to keep the cap on the 9V!


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