My parents owned a cabin on the Gunflint Trail during my childhood, and later bought a houseboat on Rainy Lake. With that kind of upbringing, I knew I might end up with a cabin of my own one day. I just didn’t think I’d do it before age 30.
In an attempt to humor my husband, Sam, who has long dreamed of a cabin, I agreed to “just go look” at a few places last fall. When we walked into the little fixer-upper on a little lake near Chetek, Wis., we instantly knew that it was meant to be ours.
The Realtor must have thought we were crazy to be so enthused about the lack of running water, the not-quite-finished addition, and the years of neglect. We closed on Halloween of 2014.
We spent our winter tackling endless projects: cleaning, patching, painting, fixing, even laying a pine floor.
When spring came, we cleaned up the overgrown grounds and lakeshore right around the cabin, but left most of our 3.5 acres and 1,000 feet of shoreline to Mother Nature.
Now that summer is upon us, we’re excited to share the cabin with our friends and family.
The to-do list is still long. The roof leaks, and a million little things remain undone. But it’s easy to forget about the work every time we enjoy another cabin first: the first guests; the first paddleboat trip around the lake; the first wildflowers. We even got excited about our first mouse sighting, because we finally figured out where they kept getting inside.
Sam and I can’t believe how quickly we’ve gotten hooked on cabin life. We’re sad to go home to Minneapolis on Sundays, and by Monday we find ourselves craving the peace and quiet of our little getaway.
I should have known. After all, cabin life runs in my blood.
Colleen O’Connor Toberman, Minneapolis