My first visit to this lake and cabin was in 1969. I was 8. It was the start of many years as the exclusive destination for our summer vacation and the unknown beginning to a significant part of our family’s history.
There was no Disney or Mount Rushmore — just two weeks every summer in Boulder Junction, Wis. When this cabin went up for sale in the fall of 2000, after a short deliberation, my wife and I bought it. Same lake, same cabin, same tranquillity as 1969. Just enough crystal-clear water and chubby smallmouth to satisfy a summer swim or populate an empty stringer. Yard maintenance is permanently assigned to Mother Nature. The watercraft fleet is an aging rowboat and canoe. By law, powerboats remain (blissfully) illegal.
Over the years, we’ve updated the kitchen, bathroom, electrical and plumbing, all required for a place whose actual birth date remains a mystery. Throughout summer, the quiet is deafening, save for the crackle of a patio fire or the call of a loon. In years past, kids playing or splashing in the water filled the air. Now, their busy lives make those visits less frequent and the lake more serene.
Then it happens. Quickly. After as much fall grouse hunting as the calendar and dog can tolerate, cabin season winds down. It gets shut down for the year in early November. Almost immediately, we begin counting the weeks, then the days, until late April or early May, when opening draws near. Through the last 50 years, being there is always the same yet ever so different.
With two small bedrooms, a large fieldstone fireplace, uneven floors and drafty windows, its history and spirit truly make it a cabin. Don’t call it a lake home. They don’t make them like this anymore.
Jim Arnost, Plymouth