Young Darin Byler, quickly hopped out of bed one snowy January morning. Rushing to the window, shivers tingled down his spine as excitement wafted over him at the sight of snow piled up on the driveway. Without a doubt, school would be cancelled today and the expansive wilderness that spread thousands of miles around his home would be his playground. Letting out a “Whoop!” he hurriedly dressed and scurried outside. After jumping onto his snowmobile, he shot off like a rocket across the snow, longing to see where the trail would lead him. Meanwhile, the rest of his family snuggled close to the fire, hot chocolate in hand, busying themselves with winter projects.
“I don’t think my mother really knew how far into the mountains I explored,” Darin admitted. “I still don’t think she does.”
After spending hours in the forest exploring nooks and crannies, discovering new hideouts, and tracking all the wildlife a young outdoorsman could dream of, young Darin followed the trail home to the original rustic log cabin. The sight of smoke billowing from the familiar snow covered roof was a reminder of the cozy comfort that only a rugged log cabin can elicit.
This original cabin was part of the 400 plus acres Darin’s grandparents owned that butted up to miles of national forest. The land became part of the family in the late 80’s, but it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that Darin’s family moved into the old 1200 square foot cabin.
“Three families came together on this property. My parents lived in one cabin and my brother and I each had our own. Between all of us, we raised 10 kids who were fortunate to grow up there,” stated David Byler, Darin’s father.
Delicious food-filled Fourth of July picnics under the 800 square-foot pavilion, laughter-filled nights by the campfire pit, and competitive Thanksgiving skeet shoots are just some of the numerous Byler family traditions that were birthed on this North Idaho paradise.
However, the abundance of wildlife on the acreage is still the most poignant of memories. Darin acquired his first .22 rifle at the tender age of three days old and by the age of twelve, he was an avid hunter who brought down a white-tail deer, bull elk, black bear, and a turkey all in his first legal-age hunting year!
“I got my start hunting white tail deer, but now I love to hunt elk. The most amazing white tails and elk come off the Selkirk mountains to winter,” remembers Darin.
Hunting wasn’t the only past time that entertained young Darin. Fishing trout in the miles of Caribou Creek snaking its way through the wooded acreage was another highlight he delighted over.
In 2005, David embarked upon the task of remodeling the old homestead. He envisioned maintaining the quintessential rustic charm while making a home large enough to sustain his family. He was enthusiastic about remodeling this cabin since crafting log homes was his passion and career. In 1989 David and his two brothers founded Caribou Creek Log construction, named after the creek on this very homestead.
“We ripped the roof off and took the meager 1200 square foot house and foundation and turned it into a 5000 square foot home,” stated David.
The original cabin still stands today as part of this luxury log cabin in a place beautiful enough for God to call home. Teeming with wildlife, this property is the ultimate outdoorsmans paradise.
Several Boone and Crocket white-tail bucks have been taken on the property, along with a 360 inch elk that Darin’s Grandfather brought down.
“Some of the best hunting in the area happens here,” David said.
The remodeled cabin sported a game room, equipped with a pool table, and a handful of trophies of animals that were harvested on the property.
“There was not a log of Boone & Crockett trophies in the game room, but each trophy had a unique story. That was the best part of living there, the wildlife became known. We even named some of them that we saw frequently on the land. The fun was in tracking them and bringing them down,” Darin mused.
In 2015 David sold this cabin along with 50 parcelled acres. Although, the Byler family still resides on the remaining acreage there will always be special memories of this indelible cabin.
Now that Darin has grown and has his own family, the North Idaho lifestyle he grew up in is passed down to a new generation. Caribou Creek Log Homes is still family owned and operated as Darin and David, along with David’s son-in-law Ken, have teamed up to continue the hand crafted legacy, building luxury log cabins around the world. High quality craftsmanship is a non-negotiable in each house Caribou Creek builds, but craftsmanship is only part of what goes into a Caribou home. The nostalgia of the log-cabin lifestyle and the passion of true sportsmen is infused into every square inch of each home.
*This story was featured in the Sprin 2020 issue of Sporting Classics.