Saturday, September 09, 2006

Secrets of Hahn-Jean-Jean

Some people think it's properly pronounced "Haines Junction". But if you're in the know, you pronounce it Hahn-Jean-Jean, nasal and with a French accent, so that's "Jean" not like "JEEEEN" but all Frenchy with a soft J like "zhjon", but clearly, what the hell do I know about phonetics?

What you do if you're REALLY in the know is reserve this little cabin on Granite Lake that I'll show you pictures of in a minute. I'm not going to tell you HOW to reserve it but I think it involves emailing some woman somewhere, maybe her name is Eileen or something. She tells you when it's free and you work it out with her when you can go. It's not her cabin though, it belongs to the "crown" but was built I think, and is maintained by, a Conservation Officer (CO if you're in the know) whose name I forget but he's obviously really generous and thoughtful. Maybe his name is Dan.

Then you drive to Hahn-Jean-Jean with your sister's canoe on the roof and maybe your sister and her awesome boyfriend and her sweet dog.

Then you pick up the key at the gas station in Hahn-Jean-Jean and drive a bit further to this dirt road and then down the dirt road until you have to park the car because otherwise you will feel it slowly splinter apart around you with metallic groans and the sudden pops of tires going flat because it wasn't built for that kind of driving. Then you carry the canoe and the rest of your stuff down the road:

Then you get to the boat launch:

And then you paddle across this often windy lake:

And then you hike for a few hours:

And then you stop here:

And you make some dinner and dry your socks and then enjoy some nine year-old bourbon, scrabble, a swim, and a spectacular little view of mountains, and maybe even use the sauna, although we didn't because we got the cabin so hot with a nice little fire in the wood stove that a skinny dip in the very very very cold lake followed by going back inside was actually perfect.

That's what you do if you're in the know.

WARNING: Doing this on your last weekend after a month away and then flying immediately back to your hometown on the redeye and going straight to the office for a day of work will severely mess you up and leave you feeling STARVED for more cabins where there's no one around and there's kindling in the wood stove and split logs piled beside it and clean cups on the shelf and cozy little bunks and the soothing hiss of the kerosene lamps and your awesome sister doing dishes after a delicious dinner.


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