We climb a rise and suddenly there it is — Yurtland. It belongs to David Masters.
We’re looking at two sand-coloured yurts. The big one Masters calls the Gathering Hall. The smaller one he calls home.
No hydro lines lead to Yurtland. No water lines. No gas lines. Masters is his own utility corporation.
It is not a spartan life. The TV is flat-screen. The computer link is high-speed. The furnishings are stylish southwest. The appliances are the latest stainless steel.
Masters is 35 and fit, 6 foot 3, 185 pounds. His life has not always been like this. He used to have a high-pressure job, a Toronto food broker who represented clients in Washington, Oregon, California. The hours were long, and it could be a grinding game. “One day somebody’s your friend, the next day they’re not.”
Each year, he would take a month and head off in his truck for camping, paddling, mountain climbing. It always revitalized him.
So six years ago he decided to start a wilderness guiding company. He told his father, who had brought him into the food brokerage business. Father was unimpressed. “You can’t make money off scenery.”
Masters had a website (lunaticadventures.com). He had a truck all decalled up. The phone, however, wasn’t ringing. So he pounded the pavement for business and worked odd jobs on the side.
Early in 2005, his father had a stroke. Masters came home to help out his parents, on that 80 acres of rolling farmland at Hamilton’s western frontier.
Masters sold his house in Toronto but knew it would never work for him to live in the old brick farmhouse with his parents, the place where he grew up.
Should he get a trailer? Build a little cabin? He settled on a 420-square-foot yurt, placed an order with an outfit in Oregon. His dome has an exterior polyester skin, an interior cloth liner and seven layers of tinfoil and bubble-wrap insulation. The yurt has a big Plexiglas dome and four windows. It cost about $15,000.
Masters now has two 170-watt solar panels, a 400-watt wind turbine and a backup gas generator. His water is collected in a tank in an insulated area beneath the yurt. The toilet is powered by peat moss, a scoop per person per day.
By the spring of 2006, Father was quite frail. But he wanted to see the yurt, and Masters helped him down the hill and inside. “I had no idea it would be that beautiful,” father said. He died later that year.
From the Hamilton Spectator
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