“Does sourdough mean that my toast for breakfast will be from San Francisco, or maybe that it is old?” asks the curious guest reading through the printed material on his cabin reserved at Hatcher Pass Bed and Breakfast.
“Well, actually, your toast should be just fine! Sourdough in Alaska is a word coined to acknowledge a person who has lived in Alaska for a long period of time and is accustomed to the quirks of living here,” I tell him, enjoying the opportunity to share about some of the Alaskan slang that I am accustomed to. Inwardly I smile, proud that I too have achieved sourdough status and have assimilated the quirkiness of Alaska into my being.
Rediscovering the True Sourdough Cabins
The small cabins with the “full scribed” logs at Hatcher Pass Bed and Breakfast are the original cabins of the business. The logs are not uniform, nor are they all perfectly smooth. Rather there are many imperfections, including bumps and small burls, and different sizes all notched and formed to fit together in the corners to create a snug and warm environment to live in. They are the “sourdough” part of the business – having withstood the test of time, weather, and a few shakes and rumbles as well. Through all adverse conditions, they remain steadfast in this beautiful and sometimes harsh environment of Alaska. They have achieved “sourdough” status.
The cabins were built on-site in the early 90’s and were one of only three bed and breakfasts in the area at that time. They were originally “dry,” without running water, and guests had to shower in the house and use a chemical toilet in the cabin. After buying the property in 1997, the first thing I did was add hot and cold running water to the cabins so guests had the privacy of their own bathroom in their cabins. Still quaint, but modern and comfortable with running water. Later, televisions were added and even telephones. Over time, we’ve continued to adjust with changing needs of our guests. Now, everyone has cell phones and wants WiFi, but no longer use the phones in the cabins. Several years back we took out those old telephones and added a new WiFi broadcast system for the property. We will continue to evolve, because that is the heart of a true sourdough Alaskan, evolving to fit the needs of our ever changing environment.
The cabins are now quite modern, but the rustic, round, warm, and three dimensional logs remain the same in each sourdough cabin. Because they are round, they do tend to collect more dust than a flat wall and they must be cleaned each spring. We don’t mind, it is one of the quirks that we happily embrace.
Stay in your own sourdough cabin on your next trip to Alaska.