Ever since I started “dating” my husband — I say “dating” because he was in Norway and I was in the United States — he has spoken about The Cabin.

I daresay anyone in the United States who has a cabin or extra residence is reasonably well-off, financially. Well, anyone in Norway who has a cabin is Norwegian, because I’m pretty sure basically every Norwegian has at least one cabin available for family use.


The view from the end of our hike to the Easter Tree.

Intrigued, I loved hearing about the cabin and its various aspects — the well, the outhouse, the lack of amenities, the two-hour ski trip to get to it, that sort of thing.

This past weekend, I finally got to join a trip to the cabin.

Frankly, I was dreading it. As interesting as this romantic, remote cabin is from afar, the idea of spending the weekend in a rustic abode with an outhouse is not my idea of a good time. I spent the week prior to the trip telling Jens that I am not a Wilderness Person, and having the occasional cry.


We stopped at a store, and there was a polar bear because Norway.

We stopped for dinner at a place that serves Norwegian food — kjøttkaker, medisterkaker, salmon, cucumber salad, mashed peas, sauerkraut, that sort of thing. It was so good, and although it was way too much food, I really felt it necessary that I eat it all, you know, to get the full experience of the cabin.


Pre-cabin dinner.

For those of you who don’t know, the cabin is about a six-hour drive into some pretty remote areas. Jens’s great-grandfather dragged it up there a million years ago; the cabin itself is more than 100 years old. Every time the family goes to visit it, they fill out the hyttebok (cabin book), a blank journal where you can detail what you did whilst at the cabin. There are entries into the hyttebok from when Jens’s grandparents started going, Jens’s parents’ honeymoon, Jens’s childhood, and more recent trips. They draw and they write, and in doing so, record a history of a family full of love and changes and God’s generational blessing.


The old and new hyttabøker.

The cabin itself is adorable. Like many Norwegian properties, there are several buildings that form a sort of compound — the main cabin (Gamlestua), the mini cabin (Jensbo), the storage shed, the outhouse, and the flagpole.


The front of the cabin.

The cabin itself is very simple. There’s no running water, and the electricity comes from a solar panel hooked to something that I don’t understand. It provides enough power to run a few lights and an electric outlet. The portable heater, mini-fridge, and camp stove all run on gas. We washed dishes in a tub, fetched water from the well, and got most of our heat from the fireplace.


Jens drawing water from the well.

I had pictured a nursery rhyme’s version of a well — a brick cylinder with a cute roof and a crank, rope, and bucket. As you can see, the cabin’s well is a three to four-foot hole in the ground, and it has a plank cover. The water came out of it ready to drink and was probably the best water I’ve ever had.


Charting a course is important work.

We went on a hike to the påsketre (Easter Tree), a tree that looks like a cross when it has fewer leaves. It was nearly six kilometers through some really lovely marshes and moss, and you can see Sjølenfjell behind us in the distance.


Hiking, with Sjølenfjell in the background.

The cabins in that picture are on an old farm, and are now family cabins maintained by individuals you are rarely around. The likelihood of seeing other people is slim, but we did run into a few characters, mostly hunters and the owner of those red cabins.


Stopping for lunch at the påsketre with our lunch packs. There are definitely salmon, caviar, and brown cheese involved.

We ended up cutting our trip a day short, but I want to go again. Whether or not I will want to go at Easter when a two-hour cross-country ski trip is required to get from the car to the cabin, I don’t know. However, I have the whole winter to learn how to stop on skis, so that’s something.