Sauna Update

Trip to the Sauna

Jayne Hotaling

The Wilderness Bay Lodge sauna was built in 1971 by Lee (Hotaling) and Finnish carpenter Bob Matson.  It was built in the style of the more modern Finnish saunas using continuous fire to heat the stones that are placed directly over the firebox.

In the winter of 1991, the WB sauna was moved to its current location. Using large poplar trees as skids, the sauna was shifted from just below Cabin Four to where it sits now.  An addition was added to the roof and new woodsheds were built out back.

In 2013, Jay and John (Hotaling) made further improvements, the most noteworthy being the new cedar benches.

Sitting for the first time on the new benches, soaking in the scent of cedar, appreciating the lack of backside burning nails, memories filled my mind. Memories of childhood and of family and friends. I think back to the summers it took to work our way up to the coveted top bench. Holding out as long as we could, until we decided it was time to push our way through the wooden doors, tear down that gravel path to the shore, and gasp as we courageously plunged into the crisp lake.  Emerging with bodies steaming, we would float. Looking up at a sky bursting with stars, listening to the loons yodel in the distance, our hearts racing with joy.

For so many people, the sauna is a spiritual place, a place of cleansing, of ritual, of rejuvenation.  If you have ever taken a sauna at Wilderness Bay, I hope that your experience was one of renewal. If you have not yet been, I hope that one day you find your way to the sauna at Wilderness Bay.

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