I grew up spending summers at the family cabin on Sand Lake in Carlton County. So years later when my wife and I were married, we didn’t buy a house first, we bought a cabin. In fact the cabin we found was on a lake only 10 miles north of Sand Lake.
The cabin, surrounded by 80-foot white and red pines, had one small bedroom and no indoor plumbing. The water that came into the kitchen sink was pumped directly from the lake. The property, however, not only had the cabin but two structures right by the lake — a boathouse and a sleeping cabin. It was perfect.
Fifteen years later we had a well drilled and added a bedroom and bathroom to the cabin. I also built a sauna beneath the lakeside sleeping cabin. Two summers ago I built a treehouse for my grandsons. Not only do they sleep in it, but our adult friends often choose to sleep in the cozy skoghus (“forest house”) in the pines.
The sauna brought about one of the cabin traditions when friends visit to cross-country ski or snowshoe on winter weekends. We cut a large hole in the ice, crank the sauna up to 180 degrees, sit, sweat and, with a whoop and a holler, jump into the bracing water. There’s nothing quite like it.
We spend many summer days at the cabin. The lake is small and quiet. We can take our small Boston Whaler or kayaks into a larger adjoining lake with access through a large culvert under the road. Most afternoons about 5 we join the pontoon boats on the lake, always going counterclockwise, for the nightly cocktail cruise. We often do a lunch cruise, too.
My grandsons, who come up often, will spend the day in the lake and after sunset lie on the dock snuggled next to me under a blanket, looking up at the constellations and listening to the haunting call of the loons. Just as I did with my daughter — their mother — 35 years ago.
Mark Sateren, Minneapolis