The God of small choices

  Up here in the mountains, with snow all around us, there isn’t much to do. So the day resolves itself into a different kind of rhythm – a rhythm of small choices: do we go out for a walk? Now or later? Shall we do that small chore now … or later? Hey – […]

Glamping, eco-style

Cabins in the forest

We’ve just finished our three-week Workaway stint at Repere Boreal, the eco-cabins resort in the woods on the St Lawrence River in Quebec, so now seems a good time to write about it.

As eco-nomads, we were attracted to go there by the idea of the eco-cabins. They come in three types:





  • the Shiship, converted from old shipping containers, complete with compost toilet. As you can see from the photo, it doesn’t attempt to hide its origins








  • the Maikan, a basic one-room cabin with no running water (no photo)

mashk interior

  • the Mashk, a more upmarket affair with the usual mod cons – kitchen, bathroom with shower, galleried bedroom looking out onto the birch trees.

The good thing about doing a job cleaning rooms every day is that you get to know the cabins intimately! Some of the great things about them were the way they had been located round the property, so that each one was totally private, yet just a short walk from the main building and its facilities. They each had outside space, with a camp-fire/grill set up and seating.

The cabins feel very much in harmony with the surrounding trees and wildlife. Chipmunks give their warning calls as you pass by, rabbits and foxes are close.

However, like our own compost toilet at home, which we gave up on in the end, the toilets in the Shiships struggle to cope. The fruit flies move in and multiply at an astonishing rate, meaning there’s no choice but to use toxic chemicals to get rid of them. Exactly what you don’t want to do.

I’m sure there are compost toilet models that work better, notably those with a large underground pit that can be rotated, rather than a removable drawer, as here. The owners of the resort are committed to improving things and finding solutions, and I am confident they’ll do so.

mashk roof terraceMore on the eco-resort – and on what we’re up to in Montreal at the moment – soon.

Any comments on glamping, compost toilets or anything else welcome. Let us know what you think!

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Nous nous trouvons dans un pays entre deux langues/We are in a country between two languages

We are here in Quebec province, spending time mainly with people from Quebec, and speaking French most of the time. Sometimes we communicate in English. But there is a gap of understanding in both languages. Our French is imperfect, plus we are still getting to grips with the Quebec dialect, so obviously this creates a […]