families from near and far
By Gene Lucht, Iowa Farmer Today
BLAKESBURG — This isn’t your father’s beat up old hunting cabin.
Soap Creek Lodge is tucked away in the timber where there is plenty of hunting and fishing. It is part of Soap Creek Outfitters.
But, it is way more than a cabin with a bathroom and pantry. It’s a two-story barn that sleeps 10 comfortably and is large enough to house dances, receptions and reunions.
“I guess it was kind of a dream of mine,” says Brian Lindberg, who built the lodge and operates it with his wife, Barbara.
Lindberg operates an insurance agency in Albia and has run Soap Creek Outfitters since 1988, gradually building it up. Today, he owns 835 acres of timber just off county road T61 south of Blakesburg, southwest of Ottumwa.
The land includes a 15-acre lake and plenty of opportunities for hunting and fishing. Sportsmen come from all over to hunt deer or turkey.
But, people also are starting to come for the lodge, a 54x60-foot barn made of ponderosa pine. A walk through the lodge reveals a facility with personality.
Stuffed animals and antiques line the walls. Deer print tracks lead to the front door. Traps and bee hives hang outside.
However, features like the rough-hewn headboards on the beds (made by Lindberg) don’t hide the fact this is a comfortable, roomy place featuring full kitchen, men’s and women’s toilets and multiple televisions, as well as a grill and other creature comforts.
Still, the lodge didn’t just pop up overnight.
“I took our first hunter out (as an outfitter) in 1988,” Lindberg says.
Later, he brought in an old cabin, using it to house hunters for about 15 years. But, he always dreamed of building a lodge.
In 2008, he finally took the plunge. But, there were plenty of hard lessons to learn.
He had issues with contractors and ended up doing much of the work himself or with the help of friends.
Plans changed. Timelines changed as well. Items cost more than were expected.
Eventually, though, the lodge began to take shape.
The building features a cement main floor with a large open area that can accommodate up to 250 people and is used for big events, such as family reunions or wedding receptions. The main floor also includes a full kitchen and mens’ and womens’ bathrooms.
Upstairs is 1,000 square feet of living space. There are four bedrooms, one with a queen-size bed and the others each contain two twin beds.
A loft overlooking the main floor includes a television and a sofa-sleeper.
The entire building uses a geothermal heating system. Outside, there is a grill, and a gazebo is just a stone’s throw away.
“We haven’t really done much advertising or promotion. But, people are learning about it. I hope it attracts a few of them to this area,” Lindberg says as he steps out of the lodge and is surrounded by trees and the sounds of nature.
“It’s a beautiful spot.”