Farewell to Jack English, A True Craftsman Who Built a Good Life in the Wilderness

‘Ventana Jack’ was a remarkable carpenter, father, husband, hunter, and fisherman who thrived in the backwoods of California. We honor his passing by publishing here this story from our book.

Steven Leckart
Mar 7, 2016 · 10 min read
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Located on a 5-acre plot of private land in the middle of a national forest, this cabin is only accessible by hiking a 6-mile footpath.
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Jack English began building his off-grid cabin in the Ventana Wilderness in 1976.
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Lumber was cut and milled on site. All of the tools were packed in, hand carried, or carted by wheelbarrow.
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When he was a teenager, Dennis English helped his father build the small cabin on the valley floor below.
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The wisteria plant growing across the front porch was planted in the 1990s. The flowers bloomed for the first time in the spring of 2013.
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The exterior boards were never planed, so the patterned cuts from the chain saw blade are still visible.
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The wood-burning stove was helicoptered to the cabin for $250.
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A portrait of Jack English’s wife Mary, who was nicknamed Scrumptious, sits on a mantel cut from black oak. The mantel’s hand-hewn finish was achieved by scoring the wood with a broadaxe, then smoothing those cuts with an adze.
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The trailhead to the cabin begins at the bottom of a meandering dirt road.
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Jack English completed the five-hour hike the day before his ninety-third birthday.
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A local helicopter pilot volunteers to drop off Jack English near his cabin whenever he asks.
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All photos by Noah Kalina.

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photo taken in September 2016 (via Crystal English)

Cabin Porn

Inspiration for your quiet place somewhere.

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