The floating world of Wayne and Margy Lutz

Living in a float cabin has led this couple to carry their ATVs by barge to some of the most remote areas around Powell Lake

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An older couple sitting on a barge with their ATVs on Powell Lake, B.C.

Wayne and Margy Lutz have one of the most unique ATV carriers we've ever seen. — photo courtesy Wayne Lutz

For most people, adventure doesn’t begin until they are miles away from home, but for Wayne and Margy Lutz, it starts the moment they step out their front door.

The pair live in a small floating cabin on Powell Lake in coastal British Columbia, a place they discovered while on vacation from California in 2001. Although Wayne said they aren’t ones for making hasty decisions, the couple bought the cabin immediately, and by 2008 had traded in their successful careers and busy Los Angeles lifestyle for retirement on the water.

“We weren't looking for this place,” he said. “It just popped up and we couldn't leave it.”

Learning how to live off the grid wasn’t easy for the city-dwelling couple, but they came to love everything about it, from gathering firewood for the winter to growing vegetables in a floating garden.

Wayne has written several books about his adventures in and around the lake, and Margy has an online blog where she shares recipes and keeps readers up to date on their comings and goings.

The bay they are in is sheltered by cliffs so the only way in and out is by boat, which took some getting used to.

A small floating cabin on the lake with granite cliffs sheltering it.

The Lutz's have a cellphone at their solar-powered cabin but there is no TV or Internet—just the simple life. — photo courtesy Wayne Lutz

“Boats were something we learned quite late in life,” said Wayne.

Same with ATVs. At first, Wayne was reluctant to give them a try, but one ride and he and Margy were hooked. They each bought a quad and joined the Powell River ATV Club.

ATVers with an advantage

In the years that ensued, they were able to explore by ATV many different areas of the region. The only problem, however, was that their quads were kept on the mainland, so in order to go for a ride, they had to boat from their cabin to the marina in Powell River, drive their truck to pick up the quads and then haul them to the staging area.

This caused a short ATV ride to become a complicated, all-day affair—so Wayne began plotting ways to keep the ATVs right at the cabin. A raft? That didn’t work, but a self-propelled barge probably would.

He found one and soon the couple were embarking on their first ATV adventure by barge. Being able to leave from the cabin and stage from shore opened up a whole new world of riding possibilities.

A spectacular view of Powell Lake from the top of a mountain.

To the head of Powell Lake was one of the first ATV trips Wayne did when they got the barge. — photo courtesy Wayne Lutz

“The places we can go are really beautiful because they are less travelled,” said Wayne.

Particularly scenic was the riding they discovered beneath Beartooth Mountain.

“Beartooth is the name of a peak that has a very distinct shape,” said Wayne, “almost like something in the Alps, and you can see it in all the area. There’s a logging road, (called) Beartooth Main, that goes up the side of it and it’s just a beautiful area.”

So much more to see

There are many places around Powell Lake Wayne would like to explore, and he has them all marked down in his latest book, Beyond the Main. Some of these trips will require the couple to spend a night or two camping on their barge, but they’ve already tried it out.

Offloading ATVs from a barge on Powell Lake.

Logging is a big industry around Powell Lake and the loggers use barges to transport their equipment across the lake, so there are numerous commercial barge ramps where Wayne and Margy can offload their quads. — photo courtesy Wayne Lutz

Wayne and Margy love being out on the lake and in the backcountry, but the couple are always really eager to return to their little hideaway. Being at their cabin, going through the sometimes complicated yet simple day-to-day routine of keeping their lives afloat is what brings them the greatest pleasure.

“If we are really nuts about anything in life,” said Wayne, “it’s this little cabin of ours.” 

A red ATV parked on the side of a logging road overlooking Powell Lake.

You can read all about Wayne and Margy's quadding adventures in his latest book, Beyond the Main. — photo courtesy Wayne Lutz

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