Ann McKirdy-Carson was 10 years old the first time she hiked up to the alpine meadows of McKirdy Mountain, at the foot of which was her family home. She immediately connected with the beauty of the backcountry and ran about the heath with a child’s enthusiasm, exclaiming how magical it was. 

At the time her older brother and cousins were building the first trail to the lake in order to bring up horses. Annie and her sister dreamed of bringing cows or sheep up to pasture. Over the years the family – often just the children on their own – came up the mountain named after their grandfather for a vacation from the home farm. They slept under a big spruce tree, and later built a lean-to shelter between the trees, the remains of which can still be seen today.

Nine years after that first magical introduction to the alpine, still 18, Annie bought her father’s flock of sheep and fulfilled her first dream, living for the summer in a canvas wall tent near where the Hermit Thrush Cabin is today. The next year she built the sheep camp in its current location, at the far end of the saddle, and spent summers there for several years. Visitors seeking quiet in nature were frequent, and she started to dream about a retreat cabin that would make the beauty and harmony of the backcountry accessible year round. 

When she married Gordon Carson, the two together shared the idea of a cabin up their beloved mountain. With a speciality logging and milling operation, a knack for designing and constructing creative builds, and an in-depth knowledge of the outdoors, Gordon certainly had the skills to help turn the dream into reality. The original idea was to offer the cabin as a non-profit organisation, but after two rejections they were advised to apply as a business, which includes yearly lease fees and taxes. In 2003 permission was finally granted, and building began. 

It took two summers to construct the cabin. The cabin was built in their yard, the logs numbered, disassembled, flown up by helicopter, and reassembled. Their two sons, friends, and community members helped with construction. The trail to the cabin was improved (and continues to be improved), and a trail built from the cabin across the rockslide to the alpine.

Annie’s favourite time at Hermit Thrush is on a cold day, surrounded by 6 ft of snow. The wood heater makes the inner space deliciously toasty and snug. It is silent except for the singing of the tea kettle and she can look out onto the winter glow of McKirdy peak.

Annie and Gordon are grateful that the cabin can provide access to the peace and beauty of the mountain, especially for those that might not otherwise have the chance or experience to do so on their own. They are inspired by the mountain experiences many of their guests have had.