The SpaceAdd a memorable stop to your journey through Alaska with a stay to the Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge, where your hosts, John and Jill Rusyniak, invite you to share the dream they are living.
The property is perfectly named: well-maintained log-cabin front view of LCWLaccommodations in the wilderness of the Little Tok Valley, a breathtakingly beautiful area in the Mentasta. Mountains region of interior Alaska. It is the ideal location to step away from the pace, noise and distractions of your daily life, to relax and catch your breath while traveling and absorb both the grandeur and simple delights of nature.
Located 28 miles south of Tok, 300 miles northeast of Anchorage, 240 miles southwest of Fairbanks front left view of LCWLand six miles from the nearest neighbors, John and Jill's 11 acres are surrounded by millions of acres of public land. Though off the electrical grid and far from the nearest cell phone tower, free WiFi service is available to visitors of at this intersection of rural and modern living.
Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge is the complete package of amazing scenery and frequent wildlife sightings, comfortable buildings – some historic, some just a couple of years old – hearty home-cooked meals, a variety of activities. Moreover, a visit to Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge stands out because it includes the opportunity to experience the lifestyle and daily activities of year-round residents.
John and Jill have been building toward the reality of Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge throughout their lives together and officially opened the business on May 18, 2008. It was a shared project that began to take shape in the 1980s when they were working and raising their family in the tiny, remote villages of Chalkyitsik and Central. They moved to the Mentasta Valley inrainbow over LCWL 1988 and then a bit farther north to the crossroads community of Tok, where they launched Cleft in the Rock Bed and Breakfast, which quickly became a very popular and successful enterprise.
For a number of years, John and Jill were interested in purchasing the "Log Cabin Inn," property, which was developed in the 1940s on what was then the main road from Tok to Anchorage. Among the guests who found their way to the Log Cabin Inn during its early years of operation were Hollywood stars John Wayne and Andy Devine.
The Log Cabin Inn closed in 1970 when the road was moved to more stable ground on the western side of the valley and became a private residence. When the property became available in 2004, John and Jill were ready to begin another chapter in their adventure.
"Jill and I knew this was the right location," John says. "A meandering creek, swooping peaks, wildlife all around us and northern lights over LCWLplenty of history in a place that oozes Alaska. We love it and our guests will, too." Guest AccessAlthough LCWL doesn’t provide any organized activities the Valley offers many opportunities for getting out doors and enjoying God’s creation. Activities people often enjoyactivities
activites• Hiking for all levels – including 6 miles of historic highway paved over 30 years ago, wilderness trails, hills and even rock climbing
•XC Skiing and snow shoeing – with over 13 miles of groomed XC ski trails.
•Fishing for Northern Pike and Arctic Grayling – we’ll be happy to share our secret spots.
activities•Skeet shoot/gun safety
•Bird watching – including eagles, goshawks, trumpeter swans, sparrows, and more. activities
•Wildlife viewing – many of our guests are amazed at the wildlife they see while staying at LCWL
Now some fifty years later Jill and John welcome visitors back to this unchanged hidden paradise in the Mentasta Mountains with modern comforts and amenities and lots of outdoor activities. Visitors may hike, fish for arctic grayling, bird watching, Hot tub familyhorse back ride, or just enjoy relaxing under the midnight summer sun. Winter time will offer snow shoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling or maybe curling up around a crackling wood fire with your favorite book. you make the choice but whatever activity you desire the atmosphere will be bathed in beauty and peace.
• Hot tub - we have a "snorkel" wood fired hot tub where you can step from the snowy path into 105 degree water. Relax in the tub while watching the stars and possibly the northern lights during the winter months. In the summer take a dip under the midnight sun, while sipping on a ice cold glass of water.
• Sauna - our sauna is also wood fired and can easily reach temperatures of 130 - 140. Add a little water to the hot rocks and your body will be cleansed as well as poached. ;-) Interaction with GuestsAlaskans by choice and doers by nature, John and Jill Rusyniak realized a major long-term goal they had set for themselves at Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge.
John and Jill began dating when they were in high school in the suburbs of Syracuse, N.Y. and married after John graduated from the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1975. They purchased an old farmstead outside of Potsdam – which is located in northern New York, approximately 20 miles from the Canadian border – and began their married lives together. John was an elementary school teacher in a rural district and Jill worked as a technician in a dental practice.
Though the Rusyniaks were busy with their careers and many interests, Alaska already was in the picture. John had gotten a satisfying taste for America's last great frontier in the summer of 1973 when he and a college buddy, Geno Ayers, rode their motorcycles across the continent and up the ALCAN Highway to Anchorage and then back to upstate New York. Sections of the highway had yet to be paved, which added some challenges to the 4,248 mile adventure.
The Rusyniaks surrendered to the lure of Alaska in 1980 and moved with their young family – 2-year-old Jed and two-month-old Jessica - to Chalkyitsik, a tiny, remote village on the Black River, approximately 50 miles east of Fort Yukon. Remote is a accurate description since there are no roads connecting Chalkyitsik to other villages. During the two years that John was the principal/teacher at the school in the Yukon Flats School District, Jill managed the family in a home without electricity or running water. She did her shopping by airplane, giving the bush pilot a list and a check to purchase groceries and other supplies 250 miles away in Fairbanks.
From Chalkyitsik, the Rusyniaks moved southwest to Central, a larger town with some access by road during the summer months. The young family lived, worked and grew in Central for six years before taking another assignment further south at Mentasta Lake in the Alaska Gateway School District in 1988. They relocated to Tok, home of the district office, in 1990 and opened the Cleft of the Rock Bed and Breakfast.
One of the Cleft in the Rock cabins was the 20x20 log cabin they built in just 9 days during their time at Mentasta Lake, since there was no housing in Mentasta and John didn't like the idea of a 100 mile a day commute each day. They built several more cabins through the years and Cleft of the Rock became a popular stop for Alaskan travelers. As their business grew and prospered, John and Jill realized that they had found their calling.
"We view this as a ministry," John says. "We feel that God has given us a gift of hospitality. Just like other people have the gift of music and they sing and play the guitars, they do that and they love sharing what they do.
"We both feel that we love sharing what we do and we've been blessed in that way. I can't say that it never gets old, but it doesn't get old very often. And we get revitalized every winter when it's very quiet and peaceful down here.
"What we give people that they don't get elsewhere is that we will sit for hours in the evenings and listen to other people's stories, as much as we tell our own.
John and Jill were interested in the Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge property for many years and purchased it in 2004. They loved the location and felt it was the next logical step in their personal and professional lives. They are able to live and work in a beautiful, inspiring location and provide their guests with a true Alaskan experience. Many guests share with John and Jill that they truly are living the Alaskan dream! The NeighborhoodThat there are no human neighbors, only wilderness and wildlife. Getting AroundWe have all of the machines and human powered tools to get you just about anywhere. Other Things to NoteIf you are interested in a work related stay there is always fire wood to cut, spilt or stack. Not to mention numerous other chores each day. Save money and work part of your stay off.