Cabin Country: Sing a song of Sand Lake

  • Updated: June 5, 2014 - 2:37 PM
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This photo shows the diverse field of competitors from the 2013 Sandman Triathlon, one of the Carlson family’s traditions at the cabin on Sand Lake.

It started 30 years ago when my date invited me to her family’s lake cabin for a visit. Later that night — my first at Sand Lake — I was under the organ of my future wife’s great-aunt, pumping the organ pedals with my hands (she was 80) so 20 to 30 cabiners could sing the great hymns, one after another. What a night!

Several years later, after my wife and I married and had our first child, I approached one of the original cabin owners. I knew it was our responsibility to carry on these family traditions. I wanted to surprise my wife with the purchase of this cabin (which I did).

Today, my third son is close to finishing college. Hope Lutheran Church in Moose Lake still increases in size by one third in the summer, and the Sand Lake Choir sings for a service every year. We still sing hymns at the cabin and tie up our boats to sing in the middle of the lake.

We had our 14th annual Sandman Triathlon over the July 4th weekend last year. Our boat spotters of past are gone or in their 80s now, so the swim is short and no longer crosses the lake. Understand you can use life vests, noodles or simply just run in the shallow water to accomplish this leg. The bike leg is now only 3 miles and can be done by a teammate. The run is a short loop of less than 1 mile. Participants ranged in age from 5 to 75. The winners received, what else, a cup with some sand in it. At the end of the race we had a good Minnesotan potluck with more than 200 cabin people from the lake, singing away.

BARRY CARLSON, NORTHFIELD

Tell us about your favorite hideout, be it a lakeside lodge or a primitive fire pit. E-mail your story along with photos to cabins@startribune.com or submit online at www.startribune.com/hideouts. Don’t forget your name, city of residence and the general vicinity of your cabin or campsite

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