In 2003, my brother Dan and I bought 10 acres up the Palisade Creek valley just one mile from Lake Superior. Perched 600 feet above the lake, our lot is on a ski hill from the 1970s that closed and became overgrown with birch. Now, the only way up Silver Mountain is a narrow path that hardly qualifies as a logging road. But when you make it up to our lot and turn around, you see Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands 50 miles away.

We spent five years building our 700-square-foot, Swedish farmhouse-inspired cabin. Walk inside and you’ll see two lofted bedrooms, a living room with a 14-foot peak, a kitchen with no running water, a wood stove rated to 2,500 square feet, and a porch overlooking the world’s biggest freshwater lake.

Our cabin memories don’t date back to the 1950s, but for the four Martin adults and six Martin kids, the cabin is base for:

• Baptism River swimming, crayfish catching and rock skipping;

• winter camping on Bear and Bean lakes;

• hiking up Round Mountain, including predawn trips to see the sun rise in a ball of fire over the lake, and dusk trips to see it set over the interior Tettegouche valley;

• snowshoeing up our “road” while towing sleds of water and gear;

• sledding down our unplowed “road”;

• watching an aurora ripple across the sky in tapestries of greens and pinks;

• sleeping out in the tree fort, built to double as an oversized deer stand for our dad;

• singing along to the iPod by the campfire while making the perfect s’more;

• hearing wolves at night and finding moose tracks in the day;

• pitching horseshoes with the hope of a ringer;

• and chasing a marauding bear from the outhouse.

That’s just in 12 years. We have many years to go.

Pat Martin, Roseville