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This winter has been a little trying in terms of cold and wet weather, but not so bad when it comes to snow. In a way I’d rather shovel a little snow than try to navigate an icy street, parking lot or sidewalk. I would venture a guess that it is just part of getting older.

While sitting in the house looking out at the weather and the elements, I sometimes let my imagination take over and envision myself at the cabin sitting in an easy chair with the woodstove blazing away drinking a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate. This would be the time for reading a book or magazine article with only one worry; that is keeping the fire going.

Yes, I’ve had this imaginary trip before and when I was a youth with no “real” cabin to visit it was only a dream. Today, however, it could be a reality if I really wanted to venture north and fight the elements to get to the cabin.

A few years ago my insurance man went the extra mile to take pictures of and check out the cabin before insuring it. He is an outdoorsman and had no trouble convincing himself to venture back, on snow shoes, to the cabin, which lies about 3⁄4 to a mile from the only passable road. Once he made it to the cabin and checked it out he started back and that is when he came across fresh wolf tracks that were crossing the path he made going in. To some folks this may have sent up a red flag and they would have gotten pretty scared, but it seems like it just brought out a sense of adventure in him.

I don’t believe that there is anything that makes me feel closer to nature than being outside in the woods with a fresh snowfall on the ground and an abundance of critter tracks to let a person know that you are not alone. Yes, if at all possible I would like to go north to the cabin to spend a few days just enjoying the solitude of the woods.

When my two oldest grandsons, Trevor and Taylor, were young we headed to the cabin in April for just a weekend to check out the newly enclosed cabin and to make sure it had survived the harsh winter. We actually did this for two years running before they decided that driving that far for two days was something they no longer wanted to do.

At that time, we had no insulation in the walls or floor and not much of anything for furniture inside. The boys would sleep on the floor curled up inside of their sleeping bags, which lay on top of another old sleeping bag. I had brought an old single roll-away bed up there which I slept on. That bed had been in my family for as long as I can remember so it was kind of like sleeping on the floor with lumps thrown in from the old mattress. I had bought a kerosene heater which actually heated the cabin fairly well, but the smell was less than ideal.

I can remember clearly the day that Brian, my oldest, and I brought the wood stove to the cabin. It was about 8 degrees with a steady 40-mph wind out of the north and after managing to get that 300-lb. wood stove into the cabin there was reason to celebrate. The celebrating was short lived because most of the work was still to come. After installing the chimney pipe Brian had to go on the roof and put up the rest of the chimney, all the while fighting that cold wind and the slickness of that steep metal roof. It was late afternoon and we were frozen almost to the bone when we finished. After we had eaten supper we both curled up as close to the stove as possible and tried to get some sleep. It didn’t seem like that cabin would ever warm up on that night, but it finally got bearable.

Today with the cabin fully insulated it is downright cozy and if you happen to sleep upstairs in the loft it can get almost too warm, although I will never complain because all I have to do is think back to the day when we installed that stove and it doesn’t seem quite warm enough.

Until next time; there are more and more fish houses popping up on Fountain Lake each day so it seems like a good time to drill a hole and wet a line.

There are some students who are trying to get a fishing team started at Albert Lea High School. They are looking for adult(s) interested in being a coach or to volunteer a couple of hours a month mentoring the kids. This is an opportunity for some experienced fishermen to share their knowledge with our youth. They plan on attending three tournaments over the summer. Anyone interested can call Julia at 507-438-2677.

Please take some time to honor those that have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today. During this holiday season take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops who are serving today.

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