Things appear peaceful here on Snowbank.
There are no boats or canoes on the lake but there is an underlying sense of urgency amongst all the creatures dwelling here. Only a small and precious number of days remain until the “freeze-up”. So the muskrats and beavers gather feverishly while the deer begin to migrate towards town. Thousands of ciscoes storm the reef off the point cabin in a mating frenzy. I can hear them tonight as I walk down to the sauna. They are jumping like crazy which sounds like a gang of children throwing rocks into the lake.
Looking across the bay towards the portage, I see Orion, the winter-maker rising.
I feel grateful for things like these.
These are things that happen every year at the same time despite what our calendars say. For some reason, this comforts me.
I also feel grateful for all of our guests who come to Wilderness Bay year after year and share their summer vacations with us.
Sincerest wishes for a good winter,
Trip to the Sauna
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.
1971, Old Model A Ford loaded with logs outside the new sauna
1971,Lee working building the sauna
1991, Sauna on Skids
1991, Lee and the new roof addition
Sauna Interior, older benches
2013, New cedar benches
Jay and the crew are in the process of remodeling Cabin Six.
After leveling the cabin, they started on the inside. New ceramic tiles in the kitchen/dining area!
More updates to come.
The sun setting over a still ice covered Snowbank Lake.
Only a few times in the past thirty years have we had to push back the season opener for Wilderness Bay Lodge.
This is one of those years!