The antique Fawcett wood stove keeps the cabin warmed perfectly throughout the hunting season as the old ash box keep it running clean. Combined with a near-ancient oil stove that works as if it came straight from the factory last week and a propane oven that cooks up a mean moose roast, the Barney Nob is perfectly comfortable in all its simplicity.
Just a square, one-room cabin is all Lawlor needs for the hunt. Along with friends and family, he built this humble hunting cabin in the Red Hills, a ways behind his home in Renews, so he would have a place to lay his head in the area he has hunted for most of his life.
He accesses the cabin by Argo in the summer and fall and by snowmobile in the winter and spring. Materials were brought in in 1982 by horse and sleigh, later supplemented by additional materials brought in on snowmobile.
Despite the rough, narrow terrain along the old rail bed behind Lawlor’s home, not to mention the rivers, streams, bogs, stumps and ditches between home and the cabin, he has no trouble maneuvering his trusty Argo through the wilderness for 45 minutes or more to get to the Barney Nob, named after the south Red Hill and its bald crest.
“It’s the freedom of being in the country,” says Lawlor, noting his many moose and caribou sightings over the past three decades. “It’s nice in here. It’s peaceful.”
The little white cabin was once near impossible to spot, hidden deep into the base of the hill. Over the past few years, Lawlor and his buddies have cleared out a great deal of trees at the front of the cabin to open up the view of the nearby pond and expansive landscape. The “holy siding” covering the cabin was actually reclaimed from the old convent in Renews, which was torn down about 20 years ago.
An old bus window from Lawlor’s Bus Service in Cappahayden sits above the table. Lawlor refused to replace it when they replaced the old wooden windows at the front of the cabin. This rustic getaway has experienced a few other upgrades over the years including an insulated floor, shingles to replace the felt roofing and paint over the bare pressboard walls. A reclaimed cabinet, mounted to the wall and once the tabernacle’s host and wine storage in the old Fermeuse church, keeps peanut butter, jam and utensils organized.
Every morning of the hunt, Lawlor is the first one to rise before daylight. He puts breakfast on for the crew and heads out with a light, a snack and his binoculars and hikes to the top of the hill to scan the surrounding landscape for moose. He calls the rest when he’s got one spotted. Lawlor relishes this routine and the quiet moments it provides in his otherwise on-the-go lifestyle.
“It’s away from everyday life,” says Lawlor. “The hectic phones and work and business… you get to do your own thing and take things off your mind.”
Just a 45-minute ride deeper into the wild via a rough trail behind the cabin is the Avalon Wilderness Reserve, made up of 1,070 square-kilometres of barrens and forests. It is home to the peninsula’s woodland caribou herd and boasts popular hiking and canoe routes. When he’s not hunting wild game, Lawlor can be found casting into the surrounding ponds for dinner or just for sport.
As the season kicks into high gear, Lawlor has checked the cabin, tidied up the cobwebs from the summer and made sure the barbecue and outhouse are in working order. The Barney Nob is now ready for another moose hunting season, and this year, they’re going to catch the big one.
This story was first published in the fall, 2012 issue of Home & Cabin.