The Log Cabin

          Shortly after World War II, my father came home from the Navy (he was in the submarine service) and he and Mom, my brother Tom and I all went up to Montana to live and build a log cabin, and live close to nature. Getting in the mountains and breathing that fresh air was, I think, what Dad needed most of all. For the rest of his life, Dad had attacks of claustrophobia anytime he couldn’t breathe fresh air or get near a window where he could open it, especially at night. He had been forced in training to be in a very tight cramped dark, enclosed places for periods of time, and although he was able to deal with it then, it took a toll on him which affected him the rest of his life. Dad always lived in the mountains, the outdoors, but those experiences in the Navy multiplied his not only love of wide open spaces but his need for them ever after.

            My parents bought a couple of acres of land at a place called Denny Creek, in a beautiful big open valley not far from West Yellowstone, Montana. The creek ran right through our property and they built the cabin right next to it. It was a beautiful stream, crystal clear with a freestone bottom of multicolored rocks. All of our water came from this creek. We had a hand pump in the kitchen which drew water directly into the house from the creek. Our drinking water, bath water, washing water, for clothes- everything was from this creek. We were the only house in the area except for our neighbor, Norman, a cattle rancher who lived a mile away or so. I can remember Norman riding over to our place horseback, trailing three or four extra horses one for Dad and the rest were pack horses. They waved goodbye to us, and road off into the mountains for a few days. When they returned the pack horses were loaded down with fresh elk meat for our families. I didn’t know much about money in those days, whether we had it or not, and I know now we didn’t, but we lived a happy healthy life. All my memories of living there are good ones.

         Dad and Mom built that house by themselves. Dad cut all the logs from trees out of the nearby forest, tall straight lodge pole pine trees, perfect for building cabins. The cabin is still there, added on to, and many people live there now, but for a time in those days we lived a simple life, close to the earth and to God. 


  • My father was also in the WWII submarines. He never had PTSD from those days, but suffered from (thankfully infrequent) nightmares of a house fire his family survived when he was a young boy for the rest of his life. He jumped from a second story window through a glass pane to escape that fire. He had the nightmare one time while in the submarines and started running up the ladder to escape the fire. Luckily they got him stopped before he got an access door opened…they were submerged. He said when they got into port they made him see a “head doctor” to see if he was a danger to have as a crew member. He passed muster.

    Rhonda Henderson
  • I’ve been in that area. I am going on 78 yrs. & had 3 horses over 15 yrs. My best one an Arab/Mustang named “Tango”. He’s now 20 yrs old. I loved the story of your Dad & cabin. What a life! Thanks. Karen
    Keep up the beautiful paintings! ♡♡

    Karen Stoddard
  • Clark, (if I may be so personal), your paintings are so beautiful & realistic. I ordered the 2000 Stripling Warriors reporting to Helaman after battle. “All present and accounted for”. He was thrilled.
    Thank you, Karen♡♡♡

    Karen P Stoddard

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