AN ADVENTURE IN BUILDING
Builder Randy Baker concurs with the apparenr simplicity and humility of the Hannas’ aesthetic. He can also relate to the somewhat haphazard approach they took when building this, the second cabin on the property. It must be noted that Baker, like Hanna, also prefers a different kind of title. I always tell Jack, ‘I’m not a carpenter. ? And he says, ‘Yeah, okay, right, you’re not a carpenter.
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Over the course of a twenty-year relationship with Hanna (and several cabins later), Baker admits that maybe he’s figured a few things out. He enjoys recounting the process of building the Elk Cabin in 1996: “Jack called me up and said, ‘The guys from Logcrafters are on their way up. And they’re bringing logs. ? So they brought a crane tip to stack them, and then we re building this thing, and we’d actually gotten most of it done. I'm sirring up there on the roof one day, and Jack shows up. He pulls this tube out of the truck and says, ‘Well, obviously you don’t need these. ? And 1 say, ‘What’s that, Jack? ? And he says, ‘Well, they’re the plans! ? See, they didn’t leave me any plans. We were just winging it the whole project. So he put them back in the truck and that was the end of the plans. We never did see them.
Luckily, Baker’s handyman skills and common sense proved up to the task. Two decades later, the Elk Cabin is as sturdy and charming as ever. Made of locally harvested and hewn timbers, it is truly the quintessential log cabin. Simply outfitted, the rustic furnishings and sparse decorations let the warm wood interior speak for itself. Quilts and blankets invite cozy relaxation. Tucked among the trees, the secluded hideaway boasts a beautiful, meticulously built fireplace, an old-fashioned claw-foot tub, and a comfy porch overlooking cherry orchards.
WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED? WHY MONTANA?
So why would a globetrotter like Jack Hanna build his retirement home way up in the corner of Montana? I've traveled the world South America, Africa, Australia, says Hanna. But the reason we chose Montana is very simple: I love the people, I love the climate all four seasons ol the year and more than anything, my wife and 1 love hiking. There’s no better place in the world to go hiking than Glacier National Park. ?
Then there’s the proximity to Flathead Like. And for Hanna, what could be better than the local version of hi to the Wild, up close and personal? We’ve had elk, moose, wolf, black bears, mountain lions, and there's been a bald eagle nest there for the past three years, ” lie says.
Hanna admits that some of his friends are a little baffled by his penchant for the place, especially since he’s been returning year after year for decades. The)' ask me, ‘Gosh, what do you do out rhere? It’s rhe middle of nowhere! He says. Bur you know. I’ve been going our there since 1984. Ihat’s thirty years, and I've still only done 10 percent of the things I want to do. Flic res so much more. Montana takes a lifetime to discover, and that’s what I intend to do.
Locally harvested limbers make up the majority of the cabin No wonder It blends so nicely with its surroundings.
This little Big Sky cabin was built to fit its owner just right.
It you ask Paul Larson whether he has a favorite room or feature in his Kalispell, Montana, cabin, he’ll tell you, “Yes, definitely. I love the big patio door in the living room, ” he says, referencing the three-panel glass door that opens onto the wraparound porch. And the loft bedroom, he continues. And the porch too, of course. And the kitchen. Oh, and the radiant-floor heat! .