Five years ago, Zach Klein, a successful tech entrepreneur then in his late 20s, was living in New York City but dreaming of the wilderness. A former Eagle scout, partner at CollegeHumor and founder of Vimeo, an elegant online video platform, he was in between ventures, teaching entrepreneurship at the School of Visual Arts and spinning cycles, as he put it, while looking for land to buy a lot of land upon which he hoped to spend time building things and reconnecting to the scouting skills of his childhood.
Most urgently, he hoped he could persuade his friends to come along for the ride.
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Klein got lucky in Sullivan County, New York, where he found 50 acres of forest with an understory of ferns and mossy boulders, lightly accessorized with a rough-hewed, one-room shack free from plumbing and electricity and a separate sleeping porch perched on a steep hill overlooking a rushing stream called Beaver Brook.