My favorite hideout isn't on a lake. It is the deer shack I have owned since 2002 in northeastern Minnesota. This my home away from home. The 40 acres and shack are 70 miles south of the Canadian border. Deer, bears, grouse and timber wolves inhabit the property year-round.

The 240-square-foot shack was built in 1949. There also are a few other buildings used for storage. One of the best of the builder's ideas was the sauna, which was built in 1959. One of the best features is the 30-gallon water tank with a pipe running into the fire box. This heats the water and makes it possible to clean up after being there for a few days. The floor drain pipe runs outside.

The land was clear-cut in 1889. The oldest red and white pine trees are more than 125 years old, and they are magnificent. Two people can't reach their arms around some of them.

The shack itself is a sturdy building but showing its age. It is built on a grade with wood beams for support. The beams are settling, and the floors have a few changes in elevation. There isn't electricity; that and lights and TV (analog only) come from a 2,000-watt generator.

Many tall tales have been told at the shack. It also has witnessed a few beers and cribbage games. The good times spent here aren't rated by bringing home venison. It's the conversations and maybe a few beers around the campfire that define a good trip.

Bruce Deinken, bloomington