Traveler’s Journal: Klee Wyck Journal, The making of a Wilderness Retreat

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

Lou McKee is an adventurer artist, author and dreamer. On Feb. 15, she tells her story of paddling the waterways of the Pacific Northwest and by chance discovering an enchanting beach … and the Klee Wyck Cabin.

In September 2017, Epicenter Press released “Klee Wyck Journal: The Making of a Wilderness Retreat” by McKee, then a debut author.

After many years of paddling the waterways and outer coasts of the Pacific northwest, McKee planned a short kayaking trip near Vancouver Island with friends and family that unexpectedly became a yearly tradition. During the first trip that Pacific Northwestern summer, they chanced upon an enchanting stretch of beach and spent several days collecting stones polished by the ocean, exploring the nearby creek and breathing in the wonder of untamed water and wilderness.

This remote coastal beach drew them back year after year, though the coastal rains become almost too much to endure.

Thus, the Klee Wyck Cabin, as it came to be named, was borne from found cedar beach logs and other reclaimed wood to shield the travelers from summer storms.

For a few weeks each year, friends and family came together to share stories, heartaches, celebrations and the building of the tiny wilderness retreat cabin. Accessible only by boat through a spit bay otherwise open to the ocean surf, there are no roads to this remote location.

Their only neighbors — black bears, wolves, whales, sea lions and the local bird life — watched curiously as the strange humans came and went, bringing only the supplies they needed and taking their garbage away with them. Great Nootka cedars stood guardian over all.

McKee took her journal and sketchbook with her to the cabin each year, documenting the process of building the cabin piece by piece, and rendering local flora and fauna in exquisite colored ink and pencil drawings.

Collected together in print for the first time, “Klee Wyck Journal” brings together her observations, a story of a lifetime on and near the water and her sketches in full color.

Klee Wyck Cabin remains a destination for her family and friends. New memories created with new generations, new additions and conveniences added to the cabin, new trails struck, new songs and stories shared around the old campfire.

Join her and extended family as she shares the story of her “Klee Wyck Journal.”

About the presenter

McKee was born on May 25, 1942, in Vancouver, B.C. Her childhood summers were spent on Texada Island, where she learned at an early age to swim and row a boat.

She has worked as a watercolor painter, illustrator, greeting card artist, fabric and dinnerware designer, and most recently as an oil pastel painter.

She bought her first ocean-going kayak at the age of 28 and she hasn’t looked back since.

About the presentations

Traveler’s Journal is a presentation of the Peninsula Trails Coalition with local adventurers sharing their stories and photos with you. All of the money raised is used to buy project supplies and food for the volunteers working on the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Admission is $5 adults, youths 18 and under free. Shows start at 7 p.m. in the Sequim High School Library at 601 N. Sequim Ave. The seating is chairs and some people bring their own cushions.

Each year the dream of a continuous trail from Port Townsend to Forks gets a little closer. In 2017, about 200 volunteers put in more than 9,000 hours of labor on the trail.

One selected photo enlargement will be given each week as a door prize.

Call Arvo Johnson at 360-301-9359 for more information.

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