In the midst of all the uncertainty about his health, Dr. Ogawa was thrilled when the cabin was completed in May 2003.
Dr. Ogawa has always enjoyed an extremely active lifestyle.
"I started cross-country skiing in third grade, and over the years it became my centerpiece sport," said Dr. Ogawa, ophthalmologist and chief medical officer at Eye Associates of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
"I'd have to say that most of the sports were enjoyable for me partly because I loved to be outside in nature. Cross-country skiing particularly appealed to me because I could ski on fast trails through woods blanketed in snow," Dr. Ogawa continued. "I loved the beauty of the woods in winter, a place where most people seldom get the opportunity to visit. I felt inspired and at peace with the world when I was in the woods. I could go on a 3-hour excursion on my bicycle or skis and thoroughly enjoy it. On the other hand, riding a fitness bike in my garage for that long would have been excruciatingly boring."
Worth the investment When some property went on the market in the mountains of northern New Mexico, he jumped at the opportunity.
"I found a beautiful 18-acre piece of land and absolutely fell in love with it. It had everything we wanted," Dr. Ogawa said. "My family could drive 3 hours and get to these woods to have wonderful experiences together and get away from the rest of the world.
"With the property sitting at 10,000 feet elevation, it offered the cooler climate that would be wonderful in the summer and great snow in the winter for skiing and snowshoeing," Dr. Ogawa said. "My family and I enjoy canoeing, so the spring-fed lake near the property added extra appeal."
"At first, a pop-up trailer was fine, but our use of the land was somewhat limited since winters were long and harsh," Dr. Ogawa said. "Building a cabin has many steps, and some of them are less appealing than others. When I needed to dig holes with hand tools in the dirt and rocks for the foundation of the 12- by 16-foot cabin, there were very few friends who were interested in helping. There is something magical about erecting the logs of a cabin, however, and when it came time for putting up the logs we had lots of people willing to help."
Over the July 4th weekend in 2001, upwards of 20 people came for a log raising.