When I was in high school my parents bought a cottage right along the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. We call them cabins here in the northern part of the United States.
Cottage time in Minnesota
We fell in love with this part of the world through many canoe and fishing trips. Although we loved to camp in the wilderness, it was great to have this home base for trips both before and after. Sometimes trips were just cottage time where we did not even make it out into the woods and just enjoyed the outdoors from a little bit of luxury and spent time with each other or on some occasions alone.
It was great to wake up and have a cup of coffee and just stare out the window into the great outdoors. Then we would spend the day fishing, cutting wood, reading, going for a jog, and then having a drink at night while watching the fire.
I remember one time I woke up early to go running with my dad. After a mile I had to turn back because my knee was hurting. I went back to the cottage and read while I waited for my dad to finish his run. I had to pick him up in the boat because we were across the lake on a peninsula.
I heard some rustling outside, and I thought that my dad might have returned, which would have been strange as he would have had to swim across the lake. I peeked outside to see the cause of the sound. A moose was walking up our hill practically to our front door.
Escaping the Sag Lake Fire
We had some great and memorable times at the cabin. The most adventurous and perhaps one we would not want to relive was the time it almost burned down. I was reading a book when the phone rang. I picked it up to hear from a neighbor that they would be evacuating the area within the hour and get my stuff ready.
Confused at the panic, I walked down to the pier and looked over the cabin to see a huge plume of smoke billowing to the north. Fortunately the wind was blowing west to east, so our cabin was saved, but we still had to leave the area for several days while firefighters did their work trying to contain the Sag Lake Fire.
Winter cottage time is great too
Although summer is the optimal time to visit the cabin, I equally enjoyed coming up in the winter. The Gunflint Trail offers some of the best cross-country skiing in the country. The land surrounding the cabin is quiet in the summer, but it is desolate in the winter.
Less than half of the residents who stay in the other cabins stick around for old man winter. I came up here two years ago to train for a ski race in Wisconsin. When I packed up my belongings to head home it was 25 degrees below zero as I crossed the lake. So wonder not many people stick around up here.
We will soon be selling the cabin as we have kind of moved on from this part of our life. I hope I can make it up there one more time before any sale is final, but if I don’t I have many fond memories of cottage time in the great northwoods. I can always rent a cottage wherever I go to bring me back and relive the rustic life I have enjoyed so much throughout the years.
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