On a hot August day in 1978, beleaguered by deer flies, my wife and I looked at and decided to buy a 20-acre piece of hunting property in Crow Wing County. The next year, my dad and friends helped build a small shack. Many years later, the shack was dilapidated, and my sons and I, with help from a family friend, tore it down and rebuilt. We worked in a 10-inch snowstorm and minus-20 temperatures, using mostly salvaged materials. Five weekends later, the place was complete. This was my lifelong dream, made sweeter by working with my sons, Max and Mike, and my friend, Paul, who love the deer camp experience as much as I do. We have no running water and keep a wood stove stoked. We’ve had as many as 12 people stacked up in the 16-by-24 cabin, with one little boy sleeping curled up in the dog’s bed. No one complains — they’re having too much fun. We’ve had 40 years of hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities; four generations of enthusiasts, and a thousand stories’ worth of experiences there.

Leonard Mallery, Lakeville