The life of a Forest Service employee in the early- to mid-20th century was often one of isolation. Responsible for patrolling thousands of acres of land before the vast network of logging roads existed, many overseeing the most remote areas would’ve been forced to commute impossibly long distances every day. That led the Civilian Conservation Corps to build cabins like Antlers Guard Station (oregonstateparks.org), which placed crews in the middle of their territory, dozens of miles from the nearest town. By the 1970s, enough drivable routes had been created to render the stations obsolete. Many were demolished, but thankfully not all. The Forest Service rents out those that are left, providing an experience that’s kind of like those overnight camps you were shipped to as a kid—rustic but with enough of the comforts of home to make the absence of modern amenities feel like a relaxing breath of fresh air rather than a punishment. Antlers, located about 19 miles north of the junction of Highway 26 and Route 7, is a tidy, two-room cottage built in 1935 with a sunny yellow kitchen equipped with a stove and refrigerator powered by propane, along with a set of bunk beds fashioned out of rounded, knot-exposed logs. The running water, though, is all outside. Yours comes from a hand pump on the edge of the property, while deer tend to come around at twilight to lap up theirs from a creek behind the cabin.
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