Log cabin splendor | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Log cabin splendor

What can $3.5 million buy you?

Chase International’s Nevada office has listed a gold mine for those who want a hide-out that’s off the map in the extraordinary scale.

Nestled two miles off Highway 88 in the trees 11 miles south of Kirkwood, The Hide Out was originally homesteaded in 1880, when the history was as thick as the forest. The property lies south of the Mormon Emigrant Trail along the route pioneer John “Snowshoe” Thompson carved out over the Sierra Nevada to deliver the mail.

More than a century later, investor and carpenter Tom Hoover of Jackson, bought the property from a logger for about $157,000, the Amador County Assessor’s Office reported.

Legend has it that gold rustlers and bandits used the old shack on the wilderness property to hide out and used cattle drives as a cover.

Oddly enough, the Hoovers Springer Spaniel mutt’s name is Bandit.

“He took one look at me and said: ‘You’re too young. You won’t last here,'” Hoover said of his encounter with the deceased old-timer logger.

Hoover proved him wrong.

For the last three years, Hoover has combed his 80 acres — which he calls the lumber yard — to hunt for suitable lodgepole pine logs for the main lodge.

“The land gives you what you want,” he said.

With five bedrooms, a library and a kitchen designed into it, the 5,000-square-foot building looks like something out of a Lincoln Log kit.

“Some of us never got over that,” he said.

For his million-dollar investment, Hoover hired a fleet of craftsmen to carry out his vision, which is due for completion next summer. Ideas for his plans have come from sources like the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park and old westerns.

“Hollywood does a good job of it,” he said.

As part of the grand plan, Hoover intends to build two docks on both sides of a 1-acre, spring-fed pond. For a Mark Twain feel, he envisions guests taking a pontoon-like raft across the pond to get to the main lodge.

Hoover wants to add private waterfalls and a hot pool that would accommodate 25 people.

The place has already had visitors — mostly the four-legged variety.

Joining the occasional rabbits, quail, bears, frogs and crows and mountain lion, marmots sit on the rock to watch the crew work during the day. At night, a pack rat the Hoover family has named Fred prefers to tip-toe through the saloon. It’s designed to serve as a recreation center with two bedrooms upstairs.

“At night, (Fred will) come in the saloon and get in cans and roll around. It sounds like he’s playing hockey down there,” he said.

Hoover, whose roots are embedded in the mountains, has relished his experience on the Amador County property.

The nature has drawn Hoover out to see the flowers and wild onions in the nearby meadow in the early summer and listen to the near-silence of the snow dropping on the ground during a storm.

He’s found a saddle and Native American arrowhead chips on his strolls.

“Look at this place. It makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. You can almost feel the place,” Hoover said, adding the peacefulness of the area attracted him to the property.

Like Hoover, Jerry Boren of Chase International believes the property could be used as a corporate retreat, wilderness resort or hide out for the person who has everything but true tranquility.

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